Your Personal Serving Guide

With summer comes parties! And one of the biggest worries for a hostess is knowing how much food to have. There is nothing worse than running out of food. To help ease your anxiety here is a guide to help with your planning.

How much to serve at a partySource

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Bachelorette Ideas For a Low Key Bride

Not every bride wants her bachelorette party to be the female version of The Hangover.  The importance of the bachelorette party is not to be a stereotype but to have a fun night out with the women closest to her. If she is a wild party girl than maybe strippers, Vegas and a large hangover is the perfect fit. If not that’s OK too! Here are some party ideas for a more low key bride.

http://media4.onsugar.comSpa Day
A spa day is a great way to spend quality time with the bride.  Reserve a few massages, pedicures, manicures and facials for the bride and guests. Most places offer spa day packages for parties at a discount and allow for you to sip a few mimosas as you enjoy your relaxing day.

Karaoke
Most bachelorette parties involve a little bit of humiliation and silliness. Karaoke is the perfect way to do that. Gather around for a few drinks to get the courage to get up there and sing. Check around and see if there are karaoke bars in the area that let you rent private rooms for the not so outgoing bride that still wants to have a little fun in front of her party guests.

Wine Tour
Going on a wine tour doesn’t mean you have to travel to Martha’s vineyard. There are tons of wineries right in your backyard. Log on and see if you can find one in your area and ask if they do tours. A wine tasting is a great way to loosen up and have a little fun and a little wine with your favorite ladies. Bride not a wine drinker? You can tour breweries or other distilleries.brides.com

Road Trip
Doesn’t matter where you go. Maybe you rent a cabin a couple hour away, or take a trip to a past vacation destination. Getting there is half the fun so pick a spot and get going. If you have a more adventurous bride perhaps have a camping trip.

Comedy Show
Bachelorette parties are all about having fun. What better way to get in the mood then to enjoy a comedy show.  Follow it up with a couple drinks or a nice dinner. This is great for a stressed bride. Laughter is the best medicine!

Slumber Party
Who says you have to go out to have fun. Enjoy a night in with your ladies. Get some drinks, pizza, popcorn and enjoy a good old fashion slumber party. This is a great option especially if some of your guests are long time friends its a great way to reminisce about when you actually used to have regular slumber parties.

Murder Mystery Party
Why not spice up the party with a murder mystery bachelorette party. You can go online and find dozens of murder mystery party’s specifically catered to a bride or bachelorette.  Here is a great choice Bachelorette’s and Bullets.

Hopefully this helps you to think outside the box so you can customize your party plans to fit your bride to be.

 

5 Tips to Cut Your Guest List

Ah the dreaded guest list. Creating the guest list is by far one of the most stressful things you will do when planning your wedding. There are lots of feelings involved in deciding who will be there to witness one of life’s major milestones.  Once you get to this point follow these 5 tips.

1. Budget & Venue

When looking at your guest list first determine what is important to you and the groom. If your budget is non negotiable decide if you would prefer to have a more casual wedding in order to accommodate more guests. Think about  how many people your venue will hold.  If the church holds less than the reception site think about inviting a smaller amount to the wedding and a larger amount to the reception.  Once you factor in these variables you can decide how many people you can reasonably have on your list.

2. Bride/Groom Ratio

Decide if the guest list will be split 50/50 or 60/40 depending on large families or mutual friends. This will help you decide how many each family can invite and give you a solid number for your future mother-in-law or your own parents in order to keep the list reasonable. Don’t forget to factor in your numbers as well to save room for your important guests, it is after all your wedding!

3. Cut by Category

Put each guest in a categorize such as A, B or C . Those in category A are absolutely invited. Those in category B will more than likely be invited, category C are a maybe and so forth. You can be more granular if you want it’s all about helping you pin point who should and shouldn’t be on the list. Once you have your list created start by count out the A’s to make sure your wedding budget and venue can handle the amount of people who without a doubt need to be invited,  continue on down until you have to start make touch decisions. Some people who may not make the cut? Maybe you decide to cut out co-workers or young kids.  The choice is completely up to you and your family, your wedding venue and what your wedding can afford.

4.  Focus on the Present

Don’t feel obligated to invite people from the past that you no longer stay in touch with. Just because you were invited to their wedding 5 years ago does not mean your relationship is the same as it was 5 years ago. Focus on those who are part of your present life and know you as a couple. If your wedding budget and list permits start adding those people who played an important role in your past that you would like their not just feel obligated to invite.

5. Stick to Your List

Once you have some boundaries created make sure to stick to them. If non-couples guests can’t bring a date, or young children are not allowed, try not to make exceptions in order to keep from offending loved ones.  It makes it easier also when someone asks you can let them know the guidelines you and your fiance have created. It makes it easier when everyone sticks to the guidelines that everyone has agreed to.

This should be a first step to cutting down your guest list. Of course there will always be some tough decisions but just try to focus on what the day is really about. It’s about celebrating your love for one another with those you care the most about and support you the most.

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 “Green” Party

In my household we are recyclers, composters, energy savers and water reducers. So why not take it to the next step and use these tips to throw a more environmentally friendly party. Incorporating “Green” decor into your event can not only be great for the planet but also your budget.

* Use old wine corks for escort cards or decorations. Those of us wine enthusiasts have random wine corks being stored in containers around the house so why not put them to good use… as well as get them off your kitchen counter.

* Invest in solar lighting. Not only is solar a great green alternative to your household outdoor lights, it’s free, and most solar lights are now easily moveable. Allowing you to customize the lighting for your event.

* Make homemade Popsicles. It’s a fun alternative to store bought ice cream treats. Plus you can create your own personalized flavors.

* Use potted flowers as your centerpieces.

* Create your own candles by using the wax from old candles that you just can’t seem to get yourself to throw away. Melt them together to create unique scented candles for your guests to take as favors. Be creative with your container as well  by trying an oyster shell or old teacup.

* Use your bird bath as a wine cooler. Simply fill it with ice and use it to chill your wine. When the ice melts it can be magically transformed back into a birdbath.

* Use licorice to quench your thirst in replacement of straws. All you have to do is snip the ends off and viola instant straw.

* Use old canning jars for vases and fill them with wild flowers. Not only is this beautiful its also very trendy right now.

* encourage your guests to carpool. It will give them some extra time to spend together!

The possibilities are endless. You can come up with hundreds of your own ideas just by gathering things around the house, so have fun with it.  If nothing else your quirky items will be a great conversation starter!