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Posts Tagged ‘Party Themes’

blue jelloThe madness all started with blue Jell-O.

Well, blue Jell-O with whipped topping mixed in, to be exact.

I saw this photo on Pinterest the other day. Someone wrote a description about how it would be the perfect dessert for an Airplane Party.

Okay. I get their basic thought about the clouds and blue sky, but seriously – what airline do they fly?

My idea of an airplane themed party would go something like this:baording passInstead of invitations, send a boarding pass. Make sure it states the boarding pass must be presented for entry and the gate (door) closes at a very specific time.

security guard

The day of your party, guests will arrive to find a large, scary-looking man at the end of your sidewalk demanding they remove their shoes, jewelry, wallets, cell phones, and empty their pockets and purses into plastic buckets, after making sure they have their boarding pass in hand. You can enlist your kids to carry the buckets inside the house and place them randomly in one room. Make sure your kids confiscate all food and beverages. If you want to make the party even more fun, have the kids knock over one or two buckets, ensuring the contents combine.

Once guests have surrendered all their personal belongings, line them up like criminal suspects outside your door where a second large, scary-looking man waves a metal detector over each one to make sure they aren’t fibbing about those empty pockets. He must also ask to see those boarding passes. Should anyone try to sneak through without one, they will be dragged back to their car and ordered to leave immediately. Make this ritual of boarding the plane even more fun by telling the scary man to work at the pace of a snail heavily medicated with sleeping pills. Oh, and you could also turn on the sprinkler by the door to liven things up, should anyone begin to look bored.

If and when the guests make it inside the house and actually find their shoes and valuables, escort them to a room where you have uncomfortable plastic chairs placed in two rows, back to back, not conducive to friendly conversations or idle chit-chat. Let your guests know the party will definitely start on time and to enjoy the wait.

Since you’ve had your kiddos appropriate all snacks and beverages from the guests’ personal belongings, let junior make a few bucks for one of his school projects by offering a handful of prepacked snacks and bottled drinks available for sale at extortionist pricing.

At whatever time you’ve printed on the boarding pass that the gates will close, lock all the doors to your house and close the blinds. If people you invited aren’t already inside, they didn’t really want to come. And the friend banging on the door with some excuse about having a flat-tire – just leave them standing outside, getting soaked by the sprinkler. There is no excuse for being late. Once gate is closed, it is closed.

Every fifteen to twenty minutes, announce to your guests that the party will begin soon, right on time. If anyone complains about the party being late to start, let them know that the gate had to close at least an hour before the party was ever planned to begin.

Once they’ve grown restless and despondent, announce that you are ready to begin seating for the party. Have those surly-faced guys from out front stand at the doorway to your dining room and enforce the seating chart you’ve so carefully arranged. The guests must once again present those boarding passes to be seated.

It is vital to the authenticity of your party to make sure you have at least five more chairs wedged around your dining room table than space could possibly accommodate. If there is any way to make sure at least one tiny person is nearly smothered between two larger people, you earn double hostess points.

As your guests look around the empty table, allow your kids to serve the meal – a choice of packaged peanuts, crackers, and bottled water, juice, or soda in the little 12-ounce sizes. If your guests would like anything resembling a meal or any other type of beverage, they will have to pay accordingly.

At intermittent moments, have your kids walk by with plastic ball bat and hit random guests on the elbow. This make certain they get that whole “seated on the aisle” experience.

After an hour of being trapped at the table, have those big scary guys rock the  chairs the guests are seated in around a bit. You want to give them a little turbulence before the evening is through.

When you announce the party has ended, smile graciously and encourage everyone to come back again soon as they run, not walk, out the door.

Glance out the window and wave as they all stand around, trying to find their car keys. Consider it lost luggage.

Your kids can take out the pile of keys they collected earlier and dump them on the sidewalk. Make sure the scary guys pull your offspring back to safety before the free-for-all begins.

Pat yourself on the back for a great airplane party experience.

***

And that is how I envision an Airplane Party.

She Who Would Never Really Host A Party Like This (or ever, ever recommend it)

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snowman

Wanting to get together with friends and family in a fun, relaxed way? Here are a few winter party theme ideas:

* Snowman Party – The fun can snowball in a hurry with a creative theme. Use a simple menu like Snowman’s Soup (Potato Soup), Snowman Rolls (shape biscuits or rolls into a snowman shape). Cut your favorite white cheese with a small snowman cookie cutter, and place on top of  nice green salad for Snowman  Salad. Finish the meal with a snowman shaped dessert, easily made by stacking varying sizes of cupcakes, covering in white frosting and finishing with coconut or by dipping Nutter Butter Cookies in melted white chocolate and adding a face and a hat with frosting. Use snowman decorations left over from the holidays to highlight the theme. You can even make an easy centerpiece out of white styrofoam balls (available at craft stores) placed in a pretty glass bowl.

* Snowflake Party – Get the kids in on the decorating for this party. Have them cut as many snowflake as they can and hang them all around your serving and gathering area. Chiffon, organza or even tulle can be a great and affordable way to carry out the theme, especially when you combine white and icy blue. Layer white lights under the chiffon for a warm glow. For this party you could make snowflake soup (tomato soup with a sour cream snowflake floating in each bowl – fill a sandwich bag, clip a corner and pipe it on!) and snowflake sandwiches (grilled cheese sandwiches made by alternating a dark bread like rye with a lighter bread like sourdough or white. Cut out snowflakes from each then put the cut out of one bread into the cut out area of the other.)  Serve Candy Cane punch (1 liter cranberry or strawberry juice, 2 liters of lemon-lime soda, 2 quarts peppermint ice cream. Just before serving, put chilled  juice in punch bowl, scoop in ice cream, top with chilled soda. Garnish the bowl with mini candy canes) with snowflake sugar cookies for dessert.

* Skating or sledding party – use mufflers and mittens for your decorations. Use mitten shaped invitations to spread the word. Serve hot cider and hot chocolate (if you are serving hot chocolate make sure you have fun add ins read like marshmallows, crushed peppermint, mini chocolate chips and long peppermint sticks to stir with), snack mixes, and something simple like  mac and cheese with warm bread and salad. Make ice skate brownies for dessert. Cut a small skate shape our of cardboard for a template then cut out brownies, flipping the template over for half so the skates or heading different directions. Frost with white icing, make laces from red icing and the skate heel from a touch of chocolate frosting. Add a mini candy cane on the bottom for the skate blade.

* Winter Animals  – this theme works well and is most fun for younger children. Using the theme of animals that make you think of winter, it can be a really fun meal for little ones. Penguins can be made from hand-boiled eggs with olive heads and arms (use a whole black olive for the head and the tip of a mini carrot for his beak. Cut an olive into quarters lengthwise for arms and use tips of mini carrots for the feet. Toothpicks will anchor on the head and limbs. Be sure someone removes the toothpicks for younger ones before eating!). How about polar bear sandwiches? Just cut bread slices in the shape of a polar bear. You could do peanut butter, grilled cheese, meat, whatever you want. Serve milk as “artic punch” and have popcorn balls for reindeer cookies for dessert.

* Escape to Paradise – for the adults who are tired of gray skies and freezing temperatures, tell everyone to come dressed in their tropical best. Turn up the heater, play the luau music and put out a feast featuring “warm, sunny” foods and drinks like tropical fruit salad, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken and veggie skewers, crab pasta salad, orange-avocado salad atop mixed greens and tropical sunrise drinks (orange juice and ice with a dash of pomegranate juice). Make sure everyone has a lei to wear. A parting gift to each guest could be a votive that smells “tropical” like pineapple or coconut, as a a fun reminder of the evening. Tie it in a circle of tulle with a bright ribbon and it makes a lovely little gift!

She Who Needs to Escape… or at Least Plan a Party

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Now that the kids are back in school and life has returned to some semblance of a routine, think about giving yourself and your friends a great gift – a little time together as adults!

Host a “The Kids are Back in School Party” for you and your friends. If you can all attend during the day, when no one needs a babysitter, that’s awesome. Or plan it for an evening or weekend.

It could be a “girls day” in. Ask a representative from Mary Kay or another company to come do a demo. It could be anything from foot massage products to make up, but anything relaxing like that would be appreciated. Serve salads for lunch with some sinfully decadent dessert.

Some other ideas for celebrating “in” could be a tea party, a book reading by a local author, a demo from a someone talented with pastries or with cooking talent. Maybe you offer some fun craft project or you all just sit and gab about what’s happening in your world.

You could also plan a “girls day” out. You could go to a spa together, window shop, take in a museum or art gallery.

If you want to include the guys, maybe you could plan a wine tasting or chocolate tasting party. Something interactive is always a hit.

The main point is to spend some time together and enjoy the company of all adults.

She Who Misses the Smell of New Crayons

 

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The other day I was flipping through a magazine and saw an article about an event planner who hosted a party on her front porch.

What a fun idea!

I loved the thought of a casual gathering where people can come dressed for the summer season, sit back and relax with good food and great friends.

With your guests casually gathered outside, there is no need to worry about the dust bunnies hiding behind your couch or the wall in the kids room that really needs painted.  Just make sure your bathroom is sparkling and the kitchen is clean and you are ready to entertain!

Here are a few ideas to make the most of a party on your porch (or patio):

• Decorations – keep it simple. If you’ve already got pots of flowers outside on your porch, just leave them where they are. You can add a fresh bouquet to a table, if you like, but play off what you already have available.
String some fun lights along the edge of the porch and put flameless candles or lanterns around for some soft lighting if you plan to be out after the sun goes down. If you can, take time to sweep down the porch, remove any cobwebs and dust that may have accumulated and wipe down chair seats.

• Seating – create groupings of chairs and make sure you have enough places for everyone to sit. Some people might lean against a porch rail for a while, but eventually everyone will want to sit down. Kids can sit on porch steps if you are short on room or chairs.

•Invitations – send an email or make a phone call. No need to get fancy or formal. Make sure your guests know this is a super casual gathering.

• Food – serve finger foods.  These are easy for guests to nibble and pick at without being heavy. Don’t put your food all on one table. Use smaller tables and space them around the porch. You might have a beverage station, a dessert station, a table with cheese, fruit and crackers and another with meats and more filling appetizers like mini quiches or stuffed tomatoes. Keep cold foods chilled by placing trays or bowls in a container filled with ice. Use a child’s wagon, a galvanized tub, even a plastic storage tub will work. Just fill with ice and nestle in your serving pieces.

• Beverages – make this easy on you by offering just a couple selections. You could make a couple of pitchers of flavored ice tea like mint or lavender and serve along with ice water. Make sure you have plenty of ice. When you think you’ve got enough, add one more bag. Use a cooler, a bucket or metal tub filled with ice to keep bottled beverages cold. You can also use small canning jars and pour in a variety of drinks, like lemonade, juices or  tea, to offer a variety of choices without a lot of fuss or mess. Just screw the lids on the jars and let your guests select their favorite drink. Have plenty of chilled water on hand, be it bottles or pitchers.

• Extras – have a clean-up station set up with a dishpan for dirty dishes and utensils, a large garbage can and some paper towels or wet wipes for messy fingers. If you make it easy for guests to clean up after themselves, they generally will. Offer your guests a parting gift that is summer-themed, like some lemonade mix or a little bag of salt-water taffy.

Go on, invite some friends over for a super-easy, super fun porch (or patio) party soon. You’ll be glad you made the time to connect!

She Who Loves Porches

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Back where I grew up, they are picking their best produce, whipping up their best recipes, scrubbing down their 4-H animals, gulping  gallons of lemonade and indulging in dozens of “Happy Bowls” at the annual County Fair this week.

It was always a fun time of year as a kid. Everybody went at least one day. I remember strolling through the animal barns with my dad, begging for a bag of cotton candy and gawking at the huge and sometimes bizarre produce on display. I have never liked the carnival, so that wasn’t a big draw, but you could get all the junk food a little body could hold, see friends and family you hadn’t visited with for a while and, in general, enjoy all the spectacles the fair provided.

When I was in college and desperate for a summer job, I spent several weeks working at the fairgrounds, first as a grunt and then in the office (which was way more fun!). The fair manager was a sweet and wonderful lady who made going to work a pleasure.

Even where we now reside, we can go to any one of three county fairs in our immediate area.

For those of you who are too far away from a county fair or not into the whole carnival/dirt/smell/crowd thing that goes along with it, think about hosting a county fair themed party. It could be a lot of fun for both you and your guests.

Start out with the invitations. Make it look country using red or blue checked paper with contrasting red or blue gingham ribbon.

Set tables with red and white checked tablecloths. Nothing says “county fair” quite like those fun table coverings. You can find inexpensive plastic ones at party or craft stores or cloth ones at most department stores.

Use sunflowers as centerpieces and to highlight tables. Loosely arrange them in canning jars and tie a piece of gingham fabric around the top of the jars. If you have old jars that have turned blue, even better!

Ask guests to bring something to enter in a judging competition. It could be produce, a craft project, whatever. Although I recommend leaving the animals at home. Trust me on this one. Have everyone vote on their top three favorite entries, tally the votes and give ribbons out. You can easily make your own (or have the kids make them). Here is a website with a fun step-by-step guide. How to Make a Fair Ribbon

The food could be potluck or you can go “whole hog” and make a fun selection of  fair food like corn dogs, funnel cakes, lemonade and home-made ice cream. Here is a link  Funnel Cake Mix to some good funnel cake mix if you don’t want to make it from scratch.  You can also get a tasty corn dog batter mix here. Please ignore the fact that I know you can order them from Bass Pro Shops. Please. Thank you.

You could even set up some fun country fair type games. Attach balloons to a piece of foam board and have darts people can throw to pop the balloons. You can use jar rings and empty pop bottles for a ring toss. Sack races, water balloon fights and tug-of-war are all inexpensive and fun. Prizes could be fun little trinkets picked up from the dollar store.

Have fun with this theme and see if it doesn’t become a great party you and your friends remember for a long time to come. And eat a funnel cake for me!

Happy Entertaining!

Shanna

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If you are planning to do some entertaining this summer, why not incorporate a fun summer party theme?

It creates a whole new level of excitement for your guests and makes the entertaining process much easier on you. When you choose a theme it narrows down the work and thought you have to put into your party because it creates some boundaries. Instead of choosing from thousands of recipes, you can select those that go along with your theme. A theme also creates guidelines for decorations, invitations, and color schemes.

Here is an A-Z selection of summer party themes. Have fun with them!

Summer Theme Party Ideas

Around the World

BAD (Beverages, Appetizers, Dessert)

Chocolate Tasting

Drinks & Divas

Easy Living

Flip Flops & Fun

Garden’s Bounty

Home on the Range
Ice Cream Social
Jazz Fest
Kid’s Day
Luau
Marshmallows & More
Night in Paris
Ocean Escape
Picnic Time
Quesadillas
Rainy Day (create your own rain with sprinklers outside in front of a picture window. You could even put it close to the front door so guest would get wet if they don’t have their umbrella.)
Sippers & Sandals
Taste of Tuscany
Under the Stars
View the Sunset
White-Out (this could be quite lovely – use all white, cream and clear glass serving pieces with white linens and ask guests to wear white. The food would provide brilliant pops of color. Would be beautiful outside with the colors of nature as the backdrop.)
Xmas in July
Yummy Bites
Zucchini Fest  (Okay – so this one is stretching it a bit…. but it could be quite tasty: fried zucchini for an appetizer, maybe some eggplant Parmesan with zucchini for a main dish and, of course, chocolate zucchini cake for dessert!)

Whatever themes you use for your summer entertaining, have fun with them!

Happy Entertaining!

Shanna

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Despite the fact that we can see snow in the foothills from our house and the weather is less than springlike, it is a great time to think about hosting a spring-themed parties. Invite some friends over for a casual dinner, brunch or lunch and create your own spring nirvana.

Here are some ideas for easy spring entertaining. Enjoy!

• Tulips – bring in a few bouquets, spread them around the house and, ahhh, feel that warm glow of spring already throughout your home.

• Lilacs – also another harbinger of spring. A few bouquets will make your house smell like mother nature herself waved her magic wand and welcomed spring inside. I absolutely love lilacs and their gorgeous scent.

• Wild pops of color – bright, cheerful colors like hot pink, salmon, bright purple, sunshine yellow, grass green and robin’s egg blue all shout  “Spring is here. Celebrate!” Drape one of two colors on your buffet and choose flowers and serving pieces in coordinating or contrasting colors. Start with a basic black table covering to get the most “Wow” factor from your buffet. Black squeezes every drop of excitement out those bright colors.

• Pussy willows or blossoming branches – fill a tall vase with a few branches and you not only have a striking centerpiece, but you’ve also created a little corner of outdoorsy bliss in your home.

• Pull back the drapes – or take them down entirely – and let the light in. Even on these cloudy days, create the sense of light with strategically placed lighting or candles. Remember, candle light is flattering to everyone!

Happy Entertaining!

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