Archive | party TIME

hot dog, hot dog, HOT DIGGITY DOG {a 3rd birthday party}

It’s hard to believe that my two big kids have moved out of the toddler stage.  Paige is about to turn 7 but just a few years ago Paige was totally into Minnie Mouse and the color pink. We threw together a simple and sweet little birthday party for her. Here are some pics. Hope it inspires you to throw a party for the sweet little Minnie Mouse in your life!
For this cake I simply iced it with a hot pink icing and used a piping bag to decorate with black frosting. To get the right shape for Minnie I stuck the tops of 3 oreo cookies – one large and two mini’s – on the top of the cake in the shape of Minnie and piped the black frosting over it. I cut a bow out of a maraschino cherry for the top of her head. I even found candles that were black with white polka dots. It was not very fancy but it made her happy.

::The Menu::

Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dogs

{we grilled up a bunch of fancy polish & chicken dogs}

Minnie’s Bowtie Pasta Salad

{homemade pasta salad with bowtie shaped pasta}

Chips

Watermelon

Apple Sauce

::The Decor::

Pink, White & Black Colors

{table cloths, napkins and frames}

Pictures of Paige

 Happy Birthday signs

{I used a Disney-like font and printed them off of my personal computer}

Minnie Mouse Images

{I made them by cutting circles out of sparkly black paper and taped them on a few frames and a few cheap white containers that I got from Target}

Minnie Mouse Ears

{I bought some with a pink bow but in true Paige fashion she wouldn’t wear them that night}

{Paigey and her sweet little friends…it was a fun and simple little celebration}
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TEA party girl

tea party girlMy sweet Paige loves TEA parties. For about a year or so she has begged me to have one. So I finally put a small little afternoon party together. She invited three friends and I included their mommies {so we could have  some yummy food and a play date too}! Paige made the invites, favors for their little goody bags, place mats, decorations and even helped me come up with the menu. I had to let go of my perfect decor ideas and let her take part with her creative flair. Luckily it was a few days after Valentine’s day, so a theme presented itself easily and Paige loved gathering pretty things from around the house to make it all pretty. We decorated the night before and I made the food while she was at school. The girls came right after school in their party dresses and while Paige had come up with a few games, they were so excited to play in her room {when they weren’t eating} we never even got to games or crafts. Fun was had by all!

Here are a few more details. Hope it inspires you to throw a little TEA party for no particular reason! It sure was fun for us!

::The Menu::

Strawberry Smoothies

Nutella Sandwich’s {cut into hearts}

Cucumber & Cream Cheese Sandwich’s {cut into triangles}

Cheddar Bunny Snack Mix

Cherry Tomatoes

Cookies & Strawberries {thanks to a few girl scouts}

Tea & Hot Chocolate {I ended up only making hot chocolate}

::The Menu for the Mommies::

Strawberry Salad*

Parmesan Toasts {cut into hearts}

::The Favors::

hand-made Pictures, Bracelets & Candy for the Goody Bags {made by Paige}

Small Craft Kits {American Girl Doll accessory-making Kit purchased at Micheal’s}

small Lip-Gloss Rings {hung on each straw}

::The Decor::

black & white Chevron Straws, Bags & Table Runner {purchased online from the Plaid Barn & Pick your Plum}

valentine Decor {from around the house}

hand-made Placemats

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more decor ideas {holiday hospitality 101}

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A few years ago I had the pleasure of helping a team of ladies decorate for a Christmas Brunch that our church hosted. The theme was: Jesus…Light of the World so we decided to decorate with candles, natural elements {that we could gather for free} and metallic accents. We used a ton of found objects and inexpensive ornaments {and lots of creativity}. Twigs, pine cones, moss and cranberries to name a few. And we all gathered whatever mercury glass we could find around our own homes to make the candle light reflect beautifully.

My friend Laura figured out how to create the beautiful sparkly letters, burlap cones and sheet music cones.

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The sparkly letters were cut out, glittered and added to metallic frames that had Christmas sheet music framed inside. It turned out simple and lovely.

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The burlap cones were huge and so simple. She took garden tomato vine cages {that her parents had around} and turned them upside down, loosely wrapped small strands of lights around them and then loosely covered each structure in burlap {I hope that makes sense}. We gathered them together on stage in groups of three or more. Here they are pictured on a table after the event was over. The lights twinkled and the whole thing just looked amazing!

She also discovered that its easy to buy a huge roll of garden burlap at a smaller cost if you need a lot of it {found in huge rolls at the garden section of the hardware store}. We knew it would make great table runners and while it was messy when cut {and the weave is not as tight as normal burlap fabric} it did the trick! We used it everywhere.

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As a team we also decided that we wanted cones made of sheet music with Christmas carols {that I had stashed away}. At first we couldn’t find an affordable solution for making them because Styrofoam and cardboard cones were too pricey for our budget. Laura bough just one Styrofoam cone mold, covered it in plastic wrap & figured out how to paper-mache several more cones out of newspaper from that one mold. She then covered each one with the sheet music {using mod-podge}. The result turned out so pretty and the detail of Christmas carol sheet music made it simple & special. This was my favorite project of all!

DSC_0724  DSC_0829   DSC_0852   DSC_0725 DSC_0714 DSC_0842DSC_0851And here are some other ideas that I have taken pictures of the last few years {like the first two below from Jessica} at the Christmas Tea Parties that I have been to at church and MOPS. Again, sorry for the blurry pictures but I think you get an idea of how things looked and can use them as a jumping off point for your own table decor!

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I think my friend’s Genis and Stephanie did this one…so gorgeous!

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Genis and my mom did the next table. There was a gorgeous twig sculpture in the middle that they hung ornaments from. Lots of sheet music and natural elements. Genis is fabulous with mixing colors, textures and layers along with adding levels and small details to everything she decorates!

DSC_0739 DSC_0740And why not dress up the buffet table as well. It never hurts to switch things up and do a few round tables for your potluck/buffet table if you have the space.

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kid table ideas & turkey hand ART {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101Decorating for the kids is FUN. My little Paigey loves to help me decorate these days. Here are a few ideas of how to make your Thanksgiving “kid table” or place settings special. As you will see some of these ideas are unconventional. You don’t always have to use paper plates or traditional colors. We love to get out fancy plates and glasses to make it more special. I have lots of little treasures from my Grandma Lil {who loved to entertain} and I figure that even if they get broken at least we used them {and these special trinkets won’t just be good for gathering dust}. Also, you can have crafts/activities available to do while the kids wait for dinner or for dessert {why are kids so reluctant to eat sometimes and often get done eating so quickly}. Just keep in mind that age and skill levels of the kids. Have fun with it. The more comfortable you are…the more comfortable your guest will feel. So assure them that if the kids break something or spill something…that’s okay!

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turkey hand art

If you want to make the turkey hand ART like the ones we did above you can set out some simple craft items for the kids and have them go to town while dinner is being made. Or make them before and add names to each to use as silly place cards. Either way…enjoy!

::what you will need::

foam or card-stock sheets

pencil {for tracing} & scissors

glue or mod-podge

feathers or leaves

googly eyes, sequins, beaks & whatever else you want to decorate the turkey face/body

::instructions::

1. Simply trace your kids hands {or anyone who wants to join in on the fun} with a pencil and then cut out hand shapes.

2. Glue feathers {or leaves for feathers} to back of the hands and allow to dry.

3. Glue on googly eyes, beak, sequins and anything else you would like to make your turkey’s special. Add a magnet, or tack up on a board or use as place cards! Enjoy!

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great catering advice & recipes {holiday hospitality 101}

holiday hospitality 101My friend Stephanie is amazing. She is our MOPS coordinator and she is fun, creative and beautiful {inside and out}. She is a total foodie and has done catering for years {oh yeah and she is a pastry chef & mom of two}. Somehow she manages to whip up amazing food & great decor for her home and for church events, she organize MOPS seamlessly and takes care of her family all while looking cute.

Here is the display and food she shared with our group last week and some great catering/party advice! Hope you appreciate her advice and recipes as much as I do! {P.S. I took these pictures very quickly and apologize for their poor quality}

DSC_0061::Party Food Tips::

Appetizers:

  • If you’re having just an evening function with no dinner, plan on at least 10 – 15 pieces per person. Round up, especially if it’s going to be served buffet style, as people tend to eat more than if a tray is passed.
  • If you’re serving pre-dinner appetizers, plan on 3 – 5 pieces per person, and choose lighter food options, as dinner will follow.

Beverages:

  • Plan on about 3 beverages per person for party, with coffee drinkers consuming on average one cup every 1 1/2 hours

Breakfast:

  • People usually drink 2 beverages on average – either juice, coffee, tea, etc.
  • Plan on a main entrée per person, along with two sides, including bread. Fruit makes a great and healthy breakfast dessert. Estimate about 3 – 5 pieces of cut fruit per person, or one cup or less of fruit salad.
  • If you’re serving pastries only, plan on 2 pieces per person.

Lunch:

  • For hors d’oeuvres, plan on 2 – 4 per person.
  • Offer a main entrée with 2 – 3 sides, including a starch and a dessert.
  • Offer a selection of drinks, including soda, beer, lemon water, etc.
  • If you’re having sandwiches, allow for 1 -2 per person (cut in half).

Dinner:

  • Have 3 – 5 hors d’oeuvres per person, depending on the number of courses.
  • Plan on a main entrée and 2 – 3 sides, either veggies, beans, pasta, etc.
  • Offer small portions of bread, salad, or soup.
  • Always have water, along with other beverages.

Desserts:

  • Plan on 1 – 3 servings per person. (Depending on size)
  • Offer one slice of cake, tart or pastry, or small serving of a creamy dessert, i.e. mousse.
  • If you have a large variety, serve smaller portions. (2-3 per person if doing small portions)
  • Coffee consumption peeks after dessert is served.

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Homemade Caramel Dip

Ingredients:

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Small Mason Jars for Storing

Crock Pot

Directions:

1. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into glass jars that will fit in your slow cooker. You can cook this right in the can, but I’m leery of the lining of the can. You’re going to store it in something after you cook it, anyway, so just pick some jars you like with tight-sealing lids.  Tighten them as much as possible, so nothing leaks in or out.

2. Place the jars in your slow cooker and cover with water. It’s important that they be covered with water, or they could explode. No, mine didn’t, but I didn’t want to test it! Put the slow cooker lid on, turn it on low, and let it cook 7 to 8 hours, until the caramel is, well, a caramel color. The water should be simmering, but not boiling.  I had to turn mine to high for a couple of hours at the beginning to get the water temp high enough.

3. Remove from the hot water and let cool, then enjoy with sliced apples. Store any extra in the refrigerator, since we didn’t really process these like you would in canning to make them shelf stable.

One can of sweetened condensed milk made one full jar and about 2/3 of the other 8 oz jar. It doesn’t expand or contract while cooking, so the amounts in the jars will be the same after cooking as before. This would make an AWESOME hostess gift!

Recipe from ChaosServedDaily.com

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Prosciutto Pinwheels

Ingredients:

1 Box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed

2/3 cup Dijon mustard

¾ lb. prosciutto, thinly sliced

Provolone cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Working with one sheet of the puff pastry, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch square. Brush with a thin layer of mustard (using 1/3 cup). Cover with half the prosciutto and half the Provolone, leaving ½” uncovered along all four edges.

2. Roll pastry tightly from one edge. Pinch seams to seal Cut into ½” pieces and place cut side down on baking sheet, 1” apart.

3. Repeat with remaining puff pastry sheet.

4. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes

Mini Brie en Croute with Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

–        1 box (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed

–        1 –  8 oz Brie wheel

–        Cranberry Sauce (homemade or store-bought)

–        Mini Muffin Tin

Directions:

  1. Spray muffin tin, and cut thawed puff pastry sheets in 3”x 3” squares.
  2. Place 1 square into each muffin tin, and fill with a piece of Brie and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.
  3. Bake in the oven according to package or until puff pastry is golden brown.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

“Triple Berry Sauce”

Recipe in MOPS cookbook page 25

Ingredients:

–        1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed

–        1/3 cup sugar, plus a little more depending on taste

–        12 oz. fresh cranberries, washed and drained

–        ½ cup dried cranberries

–        3 tbsp. orange marmalade

–        2 tbsp. fresh orange juice

–        2 tsp orange zest

–        ½ tsp. ground allspice

–        Dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Combine cranberry juice and sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add fresh and dried cranberries. Cook until dried berries soften and fresh berries pop. Stir often for approx. 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Cool Completely.
  4. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours.
  5. Can be made 3 days ahead. Enjoy!

 

Wine & Cheese Pairing:

 Brie – Chardonnay

 Gouda – Merlot

 Sharp White Cheddar – Cabernet Sauvignon

 Parmesan – Chianti

 Gruyere – Sauvignon Blanc

 Blue –  Riesling

 Ricotta – Pinot Grigio

 Mozzarella – Sauvignon Blanc

Fun Water Combinations:

Just add ingredients to water.  It adds flavor and looks pretty too!

–        All Citrus

–        Raspberry Lime

–        Watermelon Rosemary

–        Blackberry Sage

–        Pineapple Mint

{from theyummylife.com}

DSC_0076{Compiled by Stephanie Mcdaniels, over 10 years of experience in the Hotel & Restaurant Industry}

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