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 Halloween!

Welcome to my favorite day of tricks and treats, little goblins! How people hate Halloween, I’ll never know. I love the mystery and spookiness and trickery and deliciousness of this day! This weekend we hosted our 4th Annual Halloween Party! This is the fastest event-to-blog turnaround time I’ve ever had, but I wanted to share our party in honor of Halloween! ICYMI, our theme for 2016 was Back to the 1990s!

If you’re new(ish) here check out previous years: (I didn’t document 2013) | 2014 | 2015

Essentially it’s a photo dump with some commentary  🙂

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I always invite guests via Facebook, but there’s just something about a tangible, festive, mailed invitation. This year I used ’90s font & TV characters.

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I did some really simple foods this year. I figured ’90s meant high fructose color syrup and other goodies we all used to find in our Lisa Frank lunchboxes. The Fruity Pebbles Treats were a simple rice crispy recipe (1/2 cup or a stick of butter, 6 cups of mini marshmallows, & a box of 11 0z-ish fruit pebbles) and the Dunkaroo Dip was half a cup of yogurt, half a cup of cool whip, and a box of funfetti cake mix! I also had a bowl of fruit roll-ups, gushers, and fruit-by-the-foot!

Now for the best part: ’90s Costumes!

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Lylee wanted to be Ariel (even though The Little Mermaid came out in ’89) and Enzo decided to be a Ninja Turtle- Michaelangelo to be exact. I had a different costume planned, but K asked me to be the Dottie Hinson to his Jimmy Dugan (A League of Their Own).

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Per usual, our guests were amazing. Our friends Dana & Jamie came as Chuckie Finster & Tommy Pickles (The Rugrats) while Kayla and Daniel kept up the Nickelodeon theme as competitors from the Red Jaguar team (Legends of the Hidden Temple).  Our friends & dogsitters, Elizabeth and Daniel, showed up as Jessie and Woody (Toy Story)!

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My brother is a DIY Halloween guru. He and Christina showed up as popular ’90s games (even though Operation came out in the ’60s… ha). Xtina was a Sky Dancer– she even had a string! My friend Kayla came as herself… from 1990. Ha! She had a hospital bracelet that stated her name, d.o.b., sex, and birthplace, as well as a pacifier and bib! My in-laws also fit the theme and showed up as a perfect Peggy and Al Bundy (Married with Children).

We had a handful of other guests that didn’t dress up, too. I love getting all our friends together and I’m so glad our friends could make it- especially the ones that were party-hopping that night or drove +1 and a half hours! (Thank you so much, guys!! ❤︎)

After the party we usually have one or two people stay the night; this year it was Fred, Christina, and Kayla. The following morning is always one of my favorites. I make some kind of pancake breakfast and then people lazily make their way out. K and I spend the whole afternoon snacking on leftovers, napping, and watching the race. It’s a perfectly cozy day.

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Did you do anything fun or fall-ish or Halloween-y this weekend?

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The Halloween Party 2015

Guuuuuuuuuuys! I had such a wonderful time on Saturday at our Halloween party! I really, really wish all my blog friends could’ve been there, too! As promised, here’s a (somewhat long) recap of our annual Halloween bash! I promise it’s my last Halloween-related post of the year.

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the bar (K made me the mug rack for my bday this year!)

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inspired by V at Life +1

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recipe here!

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on Friday night my brother & Christina came over to carve pumpkins! I went with a monster, Fred did Mario, and Christina did a moon and star!

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Our Pixar Themed Guests included Joy, Anger, Sadness, & Disgust from Inside Out, Nemo in the anemone and Crush the (dog) turtle from Finding Nemo, Wall-E and Eva from Wall-E, Merida from Brave, and Buzz Woofyear from Toy Story. The Joker and Nadine (from Twin Peaks) also stopped by!

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my brother spent weeks on his & Christina’s costume

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here’s Kyle’s costume! the Pixar lamp!

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a costume reference

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Fred/Wall-E won the costume contest and Kyle came in second (and, in my opinion, Kayla/anemone was a close third). They won a Halloween koozie and chocolate covered pretzels. My parents stopped in for the party toward the end, but they weren’t costumed. The Halloween Queen did dress up for her 1st grade class on Friday, though, and she did not disappoint.

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“this vampire bat, this inhumane beast… she ought to be locked up & never released”

Since we’re pre-senior citizens the party actually ended by 10:30pm and we were in bed before midnight. If I was 21 I’d have been disappointed but my exhaustion was at an all-time-high and everyone had a good time. (Plus, we started at 6pm since Elliot required an early bedtime.) Another festive, successful Halloween party in the books.

Tell me how you spent your holiday!

-Louise

 

 

Halloween Party Prep

Happy Friday, everyone!!

Are you ready for the true Halloween Queen to emerge? I don’t think your ready for this jelly…

Just to recap, if you’re in need of a couple’s/group costume check out these recommendations.
If you’re going solo this year, consider these characters!

K and I have decided to go with separate costumes this year (GASP!), even though I’m putting them both together. So as a sign of good faith, I will reveal my costume…

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Merida from the film Brave! Remember we’re have a Pixar-themed Halloween Party next Saturday? Last year we had a party (and I blogged about it here and here) but there wasn’t a theme. I’m very excited for this year!

Since the party is in one week I’m in total list-mode. I have my to-do list, my food & drink list (and the corresponding shopping list), and a decorations list. Today I wanted to share some Halloween treats with you!

Creamy Pumpkin Fluff
This is the easiest snack to make! You simple mix a 15 oz. can of pumpkin, a 5 oz. box of instant vanilla pudding (powder), a 16 oz. container of cool whip, and 1/2 tablespoon of pumpkin spice. Chill that for a few hours and carve out a little pie pumpkin as a dish!

Top it all off with cinnamon. You can dip apples, Teddy Grahams, vanilla wafers, or regular graham crackers!

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Picture & recipe courtesy of Carolina Charm

Puking Pumpkin
I cheat and use store-bought guacamole with my puking pumpkin, but really the pumpkin himself is the best part of this appetizer. I like to use a pie pumpkin because it’s the perfect size! The trick is to make the eyes look squeezed and the mouth big and open. Here’s a pattern for you!

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Adult Beverages
My mom is pretty good at picking out yummy seasonal adult beverages (even though she rarely indulges). One year she bought me a yummy apple pie liqueur and other year she gifted me pumpkin pie!

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Straight from the Fulton’s Harvest website, here are some of the yummiest recipes!

Great Southern Pumpkin
2 oz. Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur
1 oz. Honey Flavored Bourbon

Honey Apple Crisp
2 oz. Apple Pie Cream Liqueur
1 oz. Honey Flavored Bourbon

Dutch Apple Pie
3 oz. Apple Pie Liqueur
1 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
1 oz. Vodka

They also have a yummy pumpkin pie ice cream recipe that I’ll be trying out soon! Check out all their recipes here!

This weekend K’s brother is getting married so all my party prep will have to wait! I’m looking forward to a family-filled weekend and some delicious cake!

What are some of your favorite Halloween recipes? What are your weekend plans?

-Louise

Halloween Costumes | Part 2

I will admit “Part 2” almost didn’t happen. I’ve been so overwhelmed the last week and a half. This weekend is my birthday so hopefully I can calm down and spend the rest of October relaxing and enjoying the fall festivities! If you miss Part 1 of the costume series you can catch up here! Part 3 will be happening the Wednesday before Halloween!

Part 2 is all about you! Last week I talked about couples/group costumes but today we’re focusing on the individual. Not everyone wants to partner up and I totally get it- the more accolades for you and your creativity! 😉

Hipster Zombie
One year I had a Halloween Murder Mystery Party and I dictated the costumes. My brother was “Zedd Undeade”- a hipster zombie that owned a coffee shop. I’d say he pulled it off flawlessly with some gray paint and suspenders.

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Biker Dude
My mom is a Halloween master. She helped my brother put together the zombie costume and her werewolf outfit is untouchable. Last year she decided to be a biker dude. My dad was so disturbed. I can’t blame him… the chest hair is just creepy!

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Day of the Dead Skeletons
My friend Dana is the cutest. She’s crafty and creative and such a fun soul to be around! When she and her husband Jamie showed up last year as Day of the Dead skeletons I was SO impressed (but not the least bit surprised).

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Older Version of Yourself
Kayla’s family owns a nursing home empire. I’m only kind of kidding. Her costume was a breeze to outfit since she had all the gear- including the apple juice-filled catheter. Ew!

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An Owl, Dobby the House Elf, & Sushi
Amanda’s owl was a simple and warm costume (good for chilly Halloween nights), but super detailed with the patches of fabric!

Dana’s Dobby’s creativity at work again! Aren’t her ears the cutest?? 10 points to Ravenclaw!

Caroline made her costume just before we stepped out for the evening. She’s the most adorable little bite of sushi I’ve ever seen!

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My husband brought a new Halloween costume idea to the table last weekend so now we might not do the couples thing. Good thing we starting talking about this in September! Ha!

What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?

-Louise

Halloween Costumes | Part 1

Happy Wednesday, ghouls and goblins! Are you enjoying the crisp weather? I might’ve overdone it and left the windows open too long… my poor little munchkin was shivering this morning! Oops! Good thing I had his sweater all clean and ready to go! (Yep, I’m one of those people…)

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Since there are only three and a half weeks until Halloween, now is the perfect time to create a costume! You’ve also got enough time to find a partner or a date or convince your significant other/best friend to dress up… so today we will zero in on partner & group costumes! (This is one of three costume posts, so stick around for more ideas in weeks to come!)

Quail Man & Patty Mayonnaise
A little 90s love for your Wednesday pleasure. You really only need a belt…

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Soap & A Luffa
This is a costume I’ve never attempted, but look how cute my in-laws are!

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A cat lady & her cats
Yes, we really did this. Yes, those cute little kittens are my husband, my brother, and our friend. Yes, it took a long time to live this one down…

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Rosie the Riveter & Pilot
Technically this can be a solo costume, but we had the coveralls, the flight suit, the bandanna, and the glasses so we made it a couples costume! This is one of my favorites!

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Inside Out Emotions
I’m so excited to see some of our friends decked out as emotions for our Halloween party this year!

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This year will be another couples costume for us, but I’m not going to spill the beans quite yet! My husband and I are hosting a PIXAR themed Halloween Party on the 31st so there’s your first hint!

Have you ever participated in a group or couples costume? How did it turn out? What pair or group would you go as if you had unlimited resources??

-Louise

 

County Bumpkins

On Monday I wrestled with the luxury of air conditioning, but then I spent most of the day outside! Every Labor Day and Memorial Day my parents host a shooting day for friends and/or family. Yep, shooting. Guns. Outside. (Yee-haw, right?!)

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The summer before my junior year of high school my mom and dad bought 75 acres of land outside city limits. It’s a very quaint little homestead that we’ve lovingly named Happy Valley. Ten of those acres are cleared and there was already a large garage when they took possession but my parents needed a house. And my dad needed a bigger garage. And now my husband is going to add onto the original garage with his business. And someday we plan on building a house out there… So “homestead” is actually a very accurate term.

Anyway, it’s in the hills of Ohio and allows us to do whatever we want, be it hunt, four-wheel, have bon fires, hike, set off fire works, or target shoot. Fortunately, we strictly kept it to shooting on Monday. Kind of.

Typically we just shoot bottles, targets, and clay pigeons, but someone brought Tannerite to the party and we got creative. Tannerite is an explosive powder that reacts with a high impact force… so when you tape the container to an old paint can things get really fun.

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Our first attempt didn’t go well… We put the can on a stump way out in the field and missed the explosive target all together and ended up with a shoot-up can. It was fun, but not the results we were looking for…

So then we moved the target closer & secured the container of Tannerite 🙂

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All that remained of the can… hehehe.

As a finale we decided to make a paint can pyramid with the Tannerite target in the middle of the cans. I didn’t get a picture of the target, but I did document the results. The top can also shot 30-ish feet into the air. Super cool.

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I think my dad made every “kill shot.” He really doesn’t hunt often, but he is an incredible shooter. Maybe it’s all those John Wayne movies or the country that runs through his blood. Whatever it is, my dad is extremely accurate with a gun. (My brother’s very talented, too.)

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Yes, it’s destructive. Yes, we clean up our messes. Yes, we respect gun safety and use eye and ear protection. We’ve all been shooting for years and know what we’re doing. Also, I do NOT condone the casual use of Tannerite. It’s very explosive and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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Sometimes my parents host a lunch, but on Monday they started at 10:30am and called it brunch. It was a hot day, but that didn’t stop them from cooking potatoes and pork chops over a fire. We also had scrambled eggs, fruit, cinnamon rolls, French toast casserole, coffee cake, and cookies! Food just tastes better coming from a cast iron pan, ya know?

I whipped up a watermelon fruit bowl and made a yummy fruit dip. I totally failed and forgot to take a picture, though. Anyway, I wanted to share the fruit dip recipe because it’s amazing…

Mix two 1 oz. boxes of instant vanilla jello, one 8oz. tub of whip cream, and one 32 oz. container of vanilla yogurt.
Chill for 30 minutes.

Boom. DONE. If you want to be healthy use sugar free/light/low-fat ingredients. It’s so good. And you can totally eat it without fruit 😉

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What did you do for Labor Day? Do you like target shooting? What are your plans for this 4-day week?

 -Louise