A Classy St. Patty’s Swarray

St. Patty’s day is just around the corner. Have a memorable party with these St. Patty’s day drinks and appetizers.

Appetizers – Enjoy something both festive and delicious.

The traditional corned beef and cabbage. Find the recipe here.

CC_tyler-florence-corned-beef-and-cabbage-recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeColcannon – A traditional cabbage side. Recipe can be found here.

8428Irish Soda Bread – Recipe found here.

41738Irish Stew – A great way to warm up on a cold winter day. Recipe found here.

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Themed Drinks -If you are tired of the traditional green beer try one of these delightfully themed drinks.

The Public Enemy No. 1

From Washington, DC restaurant The Passenger

Ice
4 sprigs of mint
2 ounces Irish whiskey
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce ginger beer

Fill cocktail shaker halfway through with ice. Add the remaining ingredients. Shake and strain through a fine mesh strainer into martini glass.

Irish Coffee

From downtown San Francisco restaurant The Buena Vista, which serves up to 2,000 cups of it a day

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Coffee, enough to fill an Irish coffee glass (about four ounces)
1.5 ounces Irish whiskey
2 cocktail sugar cubes or 1 ounce brown sugar syrup
Lightly whipped unsweetened cream

Fill glass with hot water to preheat, then empty. Pour hot coffee into hot glass until about three-quarters full, then drop in two cocktail sugar cubes or syrup; stir until dissolved. Add whiskey. Top with cream. Enjoy hot.

Token Irlandese

From downtown Los Angeles restaurant Drago Centro

2 ounces Jameson Irish whiskey
3 drops Fee Brothers Mint Bitters
5-6 of fresh mint
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
splash of soda water

Muddle mint with simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients and strain over ice into an old fashioned glass. Add splash of soda water and garnish with mint.

And for good measure you will have to throw in a classic Irish dessert. Irish ginger snaps.

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Unique Super Bowl Snacks

One of the biggest non-holiday celebrations is on its way. SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!  Here are some super-crazy super bowl snacks.

Tangy Root Beer Can Chicken
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Football Shaped Zucchini Fritters
Game Day Cake

Mini Cheeseburger Bites

Mini_Cheeseburger_BitesBites recipe

Buffalo Chicken Nachos. Combine two snacks into one.

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Football Truffles

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Chilli Breadchili-football1bread

And lastly….The snack stadium

Super-Bowl-SandwichesSuperbowl stadium

Twighlight Themed Wedding

I will be the first to say that I LOVE themed parties. I love everything about them. They just add a fun twist to any event. So why not have a themed wedding. And I know what your thinking. Themed weddings are so tacky. WRONG! They is a classy way to execute any wedding idea. Here are a few ideas for a very classy version of a Twilight themed wedding.

Twilight-Wedding

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Literary-Allusionswww.casasugar.com

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1sletterstotwilight.wordpress.com

Fog Machinestartdancingtoday.blogspot.com

Throw a Jumbo Grad Party

High School graduation is only a couple months away and we all know what that means…. graduation parties! Graduation parties used to be very traditional. The moment you showed up you knew exactly what to expect food, cake, cards.  In the last few years graduation parties have taken an unexpected turn into the occasional themed party, my favorite. You don’t have to break the bank though to throw your own themed graduation party. Here is one of my favorite themes, a larger than live games party.  All made with homemade items.

Make your own tic-tact-toe with freebee’s and colored electrical tape.

Frisbee tic-tact-toe

Frisbee tic-tac-toe

These larger than life dice were made with foam tiles, the holes were cut out with soup cans.

Jumbo Yahtzee

Jumbo Yahtzee

Dominoes made with similar material and strategy as dice. Fun for kids!

Jumbo Dominoes

Dominoes

Jumbo playing cards can be purchased in any novelty shop but make a fun activity for solitaire fans.

Jumbo Playing Cards

Jumbo Playing Cards

Make your own jumbo ladder golf with PBC pipes and nerf balls.

Ladder Golf

Ladder Golf

Make jenga out of old scraps of wood. For easy sliding cover with baking powder.

Larger than life Jenga

Larger than life Jenga

You cant have a game party without a checker board. This particular board was made from carpet squares and Styrofoam checkers.

Self made chess board

Gigantic Checker Board

Not into do-it yourself?  You can purchase similar items online.

http://www.amazon.com/Bunco-Game-Shop-Inflatable-Decoration/dp/B003VCPL7G/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1363017001&sr=8-7&keywords=jumbo+dice

Jumbo Inflatable Dice Decoration

Gigantic Chess

Giant Chess Set

Giant bowling set

Giant Bowling Set

http://www.amazon.com/Giant-Garden-Black-White-Dominoes/dp/B000ETRG0O/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1363022275&sr=8-12&keywords=giant++yard+games

Giant Garden Black and White Dominoes

http://www.amazon.com/Jumbo-Giant-Inflatable-Football-With/dp/B006TH0X3W/ref=sr_1_43?ie=UTF8&qid=1363022338&sr=8-43&keywords=giant++yard+games

Jumbo Giant Inflatable 4ft Football With Tee

The larger than life games are sure to be a hit with any age range and will be a memorable graduation party for your guests.

7 Inspirations for a Circus Themed Party

If you are looking for themes for a party why not try an old classic? Circus themed party’s have been around for decades and for a reason, there are fun and allow your guests to enter into a mysterious and magical place if only for the afternoon.  Try out some of these ideas for your next circus themed party.

1. Get Creative – You don’t have to have exotic or expensive food to keep your party in character. Try renaming plan items to put a twist on your menu.

  • Have a bowl of cherries and call them clown noses
  • Yellow cotton candy can be transformed into lions hair
  • Licorice instantly becomes trapeze tight rope

2. Menu – Serve the classics! What food reminds you of the circus? Remember walking into the county fair and you instantly get the feeling you had the previous year when you smell the kettle corn and hot dogs.  A major part of a memory is scent so since no one really enjoys the barn smell you usually smell at the circus let’s bring them the more appetizing scents like corn dogs, popcorn and pretzels.  Having an old fashion popcorn maker would be a great splurge.

3. Petting zoo – If you can afford a real zoo with the exotic animals one would see at the circus try a regular petting zoo. If you are having a party for children create your own petting zoo with stuffed animals.  Create exhibits for stuffed animal zebra, elephants, lions and giraffe and let the kids become the “circus keepers” by letting them groom, feed and water there exotic animals.

4. Props – Create easy picture perfect opportunity by creating fun props for people to use. Spray paint styrafoam dumbells to let kids feel like a heavy dutty weight lifter.  Have a top hat and red jacket for the circus master,  paint a wood board to look like rope and secure it 6 inches off the floor to let kids pretend to be trapeze stars.

5. Archade – No circus is complete without ring toss, ball throw and ???? . Set up stations and give out prizes to winners and/or participants as party favors.

6. Decorations – stick with the basic colors of the circus Blue, white Red and Yellow.

  • Pitch a tent – if your budget doesn’t include having a real tent drape red and white striped fabric as a background or create a low hanging shelter over the food.
  • Hang string across the room, or if outside across two trees, and hang trapeze artist.
  • Buy red and white striped popcorn containers for children to keep popcorn throughout the day. For a health alternative you can pop your own popcorn and buy a variety of seasonings to let kids create their own popcorn flavors

7. Check out My Pintetest – You can get additional ideas for decorating on my pinterest board.

Not sure what one wears to a circus themed party?  Let me give you some ideas.

7 Steps to Throwing a Party Fit for a Superhero

What kid doesn’t want to have a superhero themed birthday party at least once in their childhood?  Here are some simple, cheap and easy ways to throw a superhero birthday party that is sure to please.

  1. To get everyone in the spirit have each child AND parent dress as their superhero of their choice.  Some favorites include the Hulk, Batman, Sprideman, Superman, and Wonderwomen. If you are looking at additional ideas check out my previous post for inspiration.
  2. Create your own obstacle course. Set up pillows, chairs, and sofa cushions to make an obstacle course for the kids to climb, jump, and crawl through to catch a super villain. Time each of the kids as they make their way through the course to determine the winning superhero!
  3. Set the stage. Create backdrops or staging areas for kids to take pictures of themselves “saving the city”. Create tall building out of cardboard, create comic book captions for children to stand under or create large items out of Styrofoam for them to lift as if they have super strength. Use these backdrops as background for photos that can be printed as party favors.
  4. Create a super trap. Party goers will have a blast weaving a web to catch the ” bad guys”.
  5. Decorations. Create your own Gothem city by decorating your house with spiderwebs. Post up signs like “Zap!”, “Pow!”, and “Bam!”  have a welcome to Gothem City sign or no villains allowed.  Prop a light in the bathroom or a dark area and tape a bat across it to “signal” batman. Keep your Color scheme  in mind with decorations0039– Stick with the comic book classics. Keep your decorations, food and drinks within this color scheme red , yellow & blue. Create a payphone booth out of cardboard to give the kids a perfect spot to change into their superhero alter ego.
  6. Food – stick with food that follow the color scheme. Red, blue and yellow are prime super power colors.  Many popular snacks come in lots of colors. If you cant find a way to incorporate the colors try using shapes. Cut sandwiches into bat or diamond shapes. Create cookies in your favorite super hero shapes like lightening bolts or superman “s”.
  7. Cake – this is the easiest way to rev up your superhero party. Most bakeries now have super hero themed cakes that you can customize. But if you want the extra touch have a baker create a cake in the shape of your child’s favorite superhero emblem.  You can also create one yourself by cooking a square shaped cake and cute after you have baked it into the shape of your choosing then decorate to suit.

For additional inspirations take a look at my Pinterest inspiration board.

4th of July Party with a “BANG”

The 4th of July is vastly approaching and so is your planning preparation.  The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a great chance to get together and enjoy a great barbeque, fireworks and spend time with family and friends.

If you are looking to organize your own party this year use these 4th of July suggestions.

Appetizers

Consider serving appetizers since most guests struggle with travel, getting the kids together and parade traffic not everyone will arrive at the same time.

  • Have mini-burgers
  • Blue , Red, and White tortilla chips with salsa
  • Blueberry, strawberry and Banana fruit tray

Main Course

For the main course I would suggest sticking to the classics. Nothing says 4th of July like a good old hamburger and brats.  If you are looking for a twist on the classic consider these hamburger suggestions from punchbowl.com.

“The All American” – bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo

“Uncle Sam’s Favorite” – barbecue sauce, Cheddar cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, mayo

“Hot as Fireworks – jalapenos, pepper-jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo, hot salsa

“Declare Your Independence”- Set out a variety of burgers and toppings for guests to make their own burger creations. Encourage guests to come up with patriotic names for their burgers, then share the names and ingredients with other guests! Here’s everything you need to set up your burger bar:

  • Burger patty: beef, turkey, garden burger, etc.
  • Vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, mushrooms, etc.
  • Cheeses: American, Cheddar, Swiss, Provolone, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Gouda, Brie, etc.
  • Sauces and condiments: ketchup, mustard, Tabasco, A-1, Worcestershire Sauce, ranch, etc.
  • Additional toppings: relish, bacon, pineapple, guacamole, onion rings, etc.

Desert

Use Better Crocker’s Recipe for fruit pizza but with a twist by using the fruit to design an American flag.

Or consider some of these tasty Pinterest treats.

Which include Chocolate sprinkeled pretzel sticks and strawberries.

 

 Entertainment

Pull out the old backyard games. Big hits include:

  • Bean bag toss
  • Horse Shoes
  • Latter golf
  • Bocce Ball
  • or create your own 4th of July game

Beverages

Get inspired with Independence punch

What you need:
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Blue Gatorade Frost
  • Diet 7-Up
  • Ice cubes
How to Make it:
  • Fill your container with ice
  • Pour In the Cranberry Juice.
  • Next Pour in the Blue Gatorade Frost, BUT make sure that when you’re pouring the Blue Gatorade Frost that you pour straight onto some of the ice to gently add the layer. If you pour it directly into the juice it will mix!
  • Next, pour in the Diet 7up, also pour onto an ice cube to prevent them from mixing.

Last but not least every good party needs a great playlist. Here is a patriotic lists of music to add to your ipod. (created by punchbowl.com)

  • “Spirit of America” — The Beach Boys
  • “Travelin’ Soldier’ — Dixie Chicks
  • “Star Spangled Banner” — Jimmy Hendrix
  • “R.O.C.K. in the USA” — John Mellencamp
  • “Independence Day” — Elliot Smith
  • “America” — Neil Diamond
  • “American Pie” — Don McLean
  • “Fireworks” — Louis Armstrong
  • “America the Beautiful” — Frank Sinatra
  • “4th of July” — Shooter Jennings
  • “Shed a Little Light” — James Taylor
  • “American Girl” — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • “Light the Fuse”— John Mayall
  • “Stars and Stripes Forever” — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • “Yankee Doodle” — Broadway Quartet
  • “You’re a Grand Old Flag” — Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • “God Bless America” — Celine Dion
  • “American Woman” — Lenny Kravitz
  • “Red, White and Blue” — Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • “The West Point March” — United States Army Band
  • “This Land Is Your Land” — Pete Seeger
  • “Born in the USA” — Bruce Springsteen
  • “God Bless the USA: Proud to be an American” — Lee Greenwood

Throwing a Themed Party

Now let’s be honest who doesn’t enjoy a themed party? I know some people think they don’t like them but really they do.  So let me give you 10 easy steps to throwing a memorable themed party.

Step 1: Pick your theme

I know that this sounds like a simple tasks but there are so many options to choose from. Here are some different categories as well as my favorites from each one.

Image by Lakeside Reflections

Image by Lakeside Reflections

Decade Themed

  • The 1920’s  – have your guests dress in flappers and incorporate fun old fashion drink ideas.
  • The 1960’s – get back into the groove with bell bottoms and tie-dye
  • The 1990’s – Retro, remember all those things from your past that you are embarrassed of now. Let them out, where those jean jackets, hot pink pants and plastic sunglasses.

Movie Themed

  • Alice in Wonderland – Play crochet with plastic flamingos and melt wax into tea cups to create your own excentric tea party.
  • Dr. Seuss – Use pool noodles to create Seuss trees, wear your hair in wires with braids, be Seuss like.
  • Glee – Have a karaoke bar for all your friends to sing and dance.
  • Harry Potter – Keep water and dry ice in caldron to create a misty environment, serve up butterbeer and chocolate frogs.

 Games and Toys

  • Candy Land – Create a game board on your sidewalk or floor, use pool noodles to create large candy canes and create oversized gum drops out of bean bag chairs.
  • Barbie  – Have all your friends dress up like their favorite Barbie or Ken, such as Malibu Barbie, vet Barbie or bride Barbie.
  • Superhero – Dress up like your favorite super heroes, classics include Captain America, Batman, Superman and more.
  • Angry Birds – Set up wood structures and a sling for your friends to play life-size angry birds.

Additional Themes

  • Casino /Vegas
  • Christmas Themed
  • Circus
  • Around the World
  • Academy Awards

Step 2: Create the Agenda

Have a general idea of how you want the party to flow. You should have your agenda in place before you do any shopping so that you can prioritize the list and make sure you have everything you need.

Some agenda items include:

  • Time for food and snacks
  • Socializing
  • Games
  • Backyard fire pit, desert time such as s’more making or ice cream bar.
  • Any other activites you want to include in your party

    Picture by Wazzupolitan.com

Step 3: Create your List

Your list should include

  • Napkins
  • Plates
  • Decorations
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Games
  • and anything else you might need for the day

Step 4: Create your Guest List

You should be sure your guest list is one of the frist things you do when planning your party. This gives your guest enough time to RSVP and to prepare costumes, present or food items.

Make sure to keep in mind the type of people you are inviting. You want to make sure that the people you invite will participate. For those that wont you may want to have extra small things that they can wear or use if they show up unprepared.

Step 5: Invitations

This is the best way to communicate to people your theme. Your invitations should be in line with your theme as well as direct instructions as to what they should come with, what they should wear, and what the general idea for the day is.

Example: Fiesta theme, your invitation can be a mexican flags and say “Come prepared to dance and drink and be sure to wear your favorite sombrero.”

Step 6: Create a Budget

Creating a budget will help in knowing how much you can spend on games, food and decorations. You want to stay within your budget. So plan your budget early on  because it may also determine the amount of people you invite to your party.

Step 7: Decorations

There are lots of great places  you can find decorations for themed parties. PaperWarehouse, PartyCity as well as general places like target and the grocery store. Sometimes the best thing to do is to be creative and have an open mind when envisioning your party. You may want to take a look around the house first to see if there are any items you currently have that fit into your theme.

 Step 8 & 9 : Keep the Party Moving & Have a Backup Plan

Make sure that you have extra games, extra food and a back-up location in case you have unexpected rain. The best way to keep your party moving is to make sure you have things to keep kids busy, have drinks to people to mingle with and make sure that all major issues are being handled.  Back-up plans are crucial to a good party. Not only for location but also for games. In case one game bombs maybe have a few extras in your back pocket just to make sure.

Step 10: After party

No I don’t mean the “after party”. what I mean is what do you plan to do when the party is over. If you have a lot of things to clean up make sure you have some help, if you have tables or decorations that need to be returned make sure they are put in the correct spot for easy return. Most people are willing to help after the party ends but just make sure you have a plan in place.

Happy Planning!