Throwing a Party with +50 Guests

I was terrible about snapping pictures at Kyle’s 30th birthday party, but if you followed along on Snapchat you may have seen a few quick moments from the event. A few weeks ago I threw K a party and invited over 75 people. Roughly 50 to 60 showed up.

Only after I counted all the “yes” RSVPs did I realize that this party was going to be the size of a small wedding reception. (Whoops. ) I’m no stranger to throwing large parties, but it’s still a pretty daunting task. Just in case you were wondering, here’s how I did it and here’s how it went!

I made a Facebook event about 4-5 weeks in advance. While I love paper invites and prefer them 100xs over any kind of e-vite, FB was the way to cut costs and get the word out quickly.

We had the party in the company warehouse. Thank God for K’s employees Jake, Jordan, and K’s dad Jeff*. Together the five of us cleaned, rearranged, and set up the open space on Friday before the party. (It’s our slow-ish season so we were able to take a day and deep clean/set up.)

(* We only hire people with J names obviously, lol.)

This is how the warehouse typically looks. We cleaned and put everything in its place.

I sure wish I had an “after” photo. *facepalm* Anyway, we converted two of the workbenches into a salsa and taco bar and then set up another mobile workbench with the cakes (one decorated vanilla on vanilla and one yellow with chocolate frosting) and drinks (margaritas, beer, water).

We trailer-ed in three picnic tables and two long folding tables from my parents house for dining. We borrowed two sets of cornhole boards from my aunt and uncle, we borrowed a large backyard Jenga set from friends, and we set out Blockus, Twister, and domino men for the kids to play with. (Turns out the 2 to 4 year olds loved the domino men, I ended up playing Blockus at 12:45am, and no one touched Twister.)

We have a 20′ x 20′ tile carpet area that we use in the booth at trade shows so we broke it out for a seating area complete with couches, chairs, a TV and Wii system, and the little kids area. My brother-in-law also brought his Nintendo Switch for the teens/adults to use. And we definitely did.

I’m getting a little bit better about asking for help/delegating. My mother-in-law brought the margaritas and some queso dip. (Thank you!) My grandma and my mom made some cookies. (Thank you!) And K’s aunt, dad, and mom were on call when I needed anything. (Thank you!) The party would not have gone so smoothly without them.

I made a “baby chalkboard” for Kyle, I bought “3-0” balloons, and I hung a happy birthday banner for the event. Other than some table cloths and fabric to cover the warehouse mess, there wasn’t much decorating.

I made 20lbs. of beef, chopped 14 onions & 15 tomatoes, and bought 180 tacos (100 soft, 80 hard), four large bags of cheese, and 10 small bags of shredded lettuce. Also, I got 3 large jars of salsa, some store-bought guac, and 6 bags of tortilla chips. To be honest, we had WAY too much onion and tomato, but I only had 1/4 of the beef left over which impressed me. I could’ve cut the cheese and lettuce inventory in half, but who knew. I provided taco lunches for the warehouse guys in the days following the party.

All that remained of the party on Monday…

Our party started at 4pm and we had a steady flow of people all night. Some even left (and dropped off a kid or spouse) and came back. We invited family and friends and friends of the family, ha. Overall, we had a fantastic time 🙂 Our last guests left around 1:30am. I was so exhausted.

Seeing all our friends and family was fun, although I think I will request a vacation for my 30th birthday 😉 What are some fun things you’ve done for “monumental” birthdays?

Happy Not-Valentine’s Day

FYI, Last week I took a semi-planned hiatus from the blog because I’ve been feeling directionless and angry and trite. K and I were in Texas for business, too, so I just took the week off. (I still read posts when I could. )

On Tuesday I talked about books and skipped over the Valentine’s Day obligations, so today I want to backtrack. I don’t know how you feel about Valentine’s Day, but I’m OK with having a random day in February to remind me to show some love. (In 2015 I shared the love with all sorts of people.)

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This year K gets all my attention. I met Kyle almost twelve years ago.

❤︎ In all that time he has never made me feel like I couldn’t do something, ability-wise or permission-wise. He doesn’t doubt me.

❤︎ We will celebrate four years of marriage in April. Two years ago some stupid drama knocked me off my horse and made me breakdown mentally. K picked me back up and made sure I knew he was on my side no matter what. It sounds silly, but I didn’t realize his loyalty to me until that moment. He’d pick me first for dodgeball. He’s the co-captain of my Quidditch team. I’d be his “one choice” as far as deserted island companions go.

❤︎ I have always said that I don’t need K and he doesn’t need me. But I will openly admit that my life would suck so much without him. He’s my favorite human. I feel my best when I stand next to him.

❤︎ My husband loves dogs as much as I do. That’s not a learned characteristic. He is a bleeding-heart dog lover and that is my favorite quality in a person. (A direct quote from him on Tuesday: “Dogs aren’t a hobby. They’re a lifestyle.” Lol.)

❤︎ I have been angry and feisty and prayerful these last few weeks. I am an unapologetic feminist and sometimes that means angry rants at the dinner table and frustrated fact-sharing in the car wash queue. And K has endured it all with an occasional mumbled, “Yep” or head nod. I’m politically vocal and he’s reserved, but we’re both unapologetic.

And just for fun…

Who’s older? Kyle.
Who was interested first? My guess is me…
More sarcastic? Neither one of us are sarcastic.
Who makes the biggest mess? K.
What are your middle names? Louise & Geoffrey
Do you have any children together? Ly & Enzo. One was even adopted out of wedlock! *gasp*
Did you go to the same school? Yes, at different times.
Who is the most sensitive? Me.
Where do you eat out most as a couple? JNG. Hands down.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Jamaica, I think.
Who does the cooking? Me.
Who is more social? K.
Who is the neat freak? I’m not necessarily a neat freak, but I like things to be where they’re supposed to be.
Who is the most stubborn? He says me. I disagree.
Who wakes up earlier? K.
Who drives when you are together? Mostly him, but I do on occasion.
Who eats more sweets? K.

I got through all of that without saying I love Kyle, but I do. We’ve been busy this month with the business and dogs and travel, but I’m never too busy to say I love my husband, even and especially on an average day like February 16th.

Happy Late Valentine’s Day ❤︎

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I’ll Be Home For Christmas…

Everyone’s posted a holiday home tour but me (or so it seems ). Let’s fix that!
(Check out other people’s houses, too! Mattie, Emily, Taylor, Michelle)

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Typically the decorations go up mid-November, but we don’t get our tree until December. This year we really procrastinated. I knew I wanted a smaller one this year (and we set up a larger one in K’s company office), but I don’t know that I was picturing it this small… Perks to buying your tiny tree the Saturday before the holiday weekend? We got it half off. Say hello to $10 ‘Ronald Trees-ley”:

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Yep, he’s real. Both of them.

Ok… on to the house tour.

No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
No house light this year. Just my sled & fox.
Favorite holiday spot in the house
Favorite holiday spot
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K and I are the snowmen, Ly is the “woof”, & Enzo is the fox

Ronald, Enzo, & Ly

If you missed it on IG here's one of my favorite ornaments!
If you missed it on Instagram here’s one of my favorite ornaments!
I think we have five nativity sets in our house...
I think we have five nativity sets…
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I love this little cutout in our house

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What a Christmas wreck... ha.
What a Christmas wreck… ha.

Where all the magic happens ;)

And there ya have it. We only decorate the first floor, although there is a pine candle in the basement. Sorry my pictures aren’t high quality… that’s just life!

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I’m going to get religious for a minute.

I am a firm believer in faith by example. Rarely do I mention religion here on my blog, but I don’t shy away from identifying as a Christian. It’s my hope that through acts of kindness and openminded-ness toward others I get across what I believe to be the important parts of being a Christian. I think that being ‘Christian’ means knowing that you are flawed, seeking forgiveness and wisdom, and spreading kindness and love to the other flawed humans (and animals) on this planet. We’re meant to love and take care of one another. I don’t think Jesus cares if you voted Republican or Democrat (or Independent). That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares where (or if) you got an education. That doesn’t make you a better Christian. I don’t think Jesus cares about your skin color, gender, pay grade, criminal record, or hobbies. I think that Christianity is about serving Christ- and since we have no idea what He looks like or when He’ll appear, it’s best to serve one another with a happy, genuine heart.

All that to say, Merry Christmas, friends! (And if you celebrate a holiday other than Christmas, I welcome your festive greeting! I do not feel like there is a war being waged on me or the holidays I celebrate, and I hope you feel the same.) If you’ve ever thought about visiting a church you should slip into one on Christmas Eve and listen to the story of the birth of Jesus. If you live near me and you’d like someone to go with I’d be more than happy to have you along!

If you are not a Christian or you celebrate another event this time of year: Happy Holidays!  ❤︎

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Regardless of your beliefs, spread a little love and cheer and kindness this weekend, friends! Thank you for your friendship here in Blogland ❤︎

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Sending Christmas Cheer

This is what I was going to post on Monday… Instead it’s coming at you today 🙂  Also, I know a lot of blogger are taking holiday breaks (good for you guys!!) but I’m keeping the posts coming M, W, F this week and next so if you get bored or need a real life break there will be something here to read. Haha!

Typically I am that Christmas psycho elf that has her holiday cards addressed, stamped, and ready to send on December 1st. This year I was dragging my feet and I mentioned that in Blogland. When Alexandra from My Favorite Things caught wind of my procrastination she offered to design the cards for us!

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I like my Christmas cards to be simple and positive. (This was last year’s card.) Alexandra hit the nail on the head with her design!

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I am in love with the return labels she made, too!

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Check out her website and Facebook for more designs!

Thank you so much, Alexandra! We love them!

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*I wasn’t paid to write this  🙂 I purchased my cards at a discounted priced, but these opinions are 100% my own!

The Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange

Through blogging I’ve “met” some pretty fun people. Two of those ladies are Olya of The Siberian American and Mattie of Northwest Native! When these ladies shared the details of their Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange on their blogs I was all about participating.

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Similar to their Valentine’s Day swap, the exchanging was anonymous and conducted through elfster. A few days after I sent some goodies to Nikki in Texas I received a package in the mail from a nameless Elf! (Turns out it was from Jess of To Sparkle Punch!) I’m so glad I participated because I got exactly what I’d wished for!

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A week or so after the package came (and Mattie revealed to me who my elf was), I got a Christmas note in the mail from Jess! Since she’d sent the goodies via Amazon she wanted to get in contact somehow to wish me a Merry Christmas! So sweet!

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Thank you so much for the Christmas gifts, Jess! And thanks for hosting, Olya & Mattie!

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Friday Favorites

Hello, my friends.

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I’m so glad this week is over. I’m also happy that for the second time in a row I have a free weekend. (Prior to these past two weekends we were so swamped!) This week K has been off on business, so I’ve been flying solo. And since the Grinch was away this elf was at play 🙂 I started listening to Christmas music this week and I’ve mostly transformed our house from spooky graveyard to winter wonderland.

(I know some folks out there feel like Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick when it comes to people like me. Not true, guys. My dining room table has a festive little fall centerpiece and I fully welcome Turkey-Day in the whole “holiday season” club. I get the same thankful, joyful vibe all through November and December, so I’m not going to fight the urge. No harm in decorating the mantel and hanging the stockings.)

In November I try to establish some kind of social media thankful-post. This year I’m sharing a weekly Instagram pic that sums up a few things I’m thankful for each week. I’ve done blog posts and Facebook statuses in the past, but I think I prefer the weekly post (vs. daily) and I enjoy sharing a picture from my week!

I’m still not ready to talk about the election. I deactivated my FB this week because I’m upset and I just need to avoid the gloating/hate/fear/anger/sadness. I’m worried about the next four years. I will never quietly tolerate xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, sexism, or racism. I know a lot of people feel the same way, but I’m just not ready to talk about this.

Ok, so I promised some favorites from the blog-world. Here they are:

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! Like I said, I’m 100% plan-less, but that doesn’t mean I won’t end up in Columbus or Indianapolis for a few hours this weekend. Who knows?  🙂

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5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap

I should’ve posted this Wednesday, but I didn’t have it done. I also wasn’t in a good mood, which would’ve been reflected in my writing. Now you get a bonus Thursday post, though. Yaaaay.

I love getting fun stuff in the mail so when Erin mentioned this swap hosted by Becky & Kristin I signed up immediately. The swap was open to folks inside and outside the US and I was luck enough to be pair with one of those adventurous participants! On October 9th I was paired with Elizabeth from Cheers, Elizabeth and I went right to work on collecting some goodies for her!

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Elizabeth is originally from Virginia but she currently lives on a US base in Okinawa, Japan with her husband (& dog!). Funny enough, my mom is the daughter of an Air Force Colonel and she lived there years ago! Crazy! Elizabeth is super involved and she sent me so many Japanese snacks and goodies!

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I loved swapping with Elizabeth! I received the most unique items! If you read the little note she included you’ll see that the cute little pumpkin decoration was made by a military child as a fundraising project. I’m super curious about the Japanese coffee flavors and candies- I haven’t tried anything yet!

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I’m so glad I had the opportunity to “meet” a new blogger and participate in this fun seasonal swap! Thank you so much for hosting, Becky & Kristin!!

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