Yes, I do love parties! I have always enjoyed entertaining as long as I can remember. If you have read any of my ramblings in Mrs. Betty's Recipe Box, then you know that I talk a lot about how you don't have to be a great cook to make someone happy with food. Don't get me wrong, it does help, but your actions and time you take in preparation can mean the world to someone.
Why do I like hosting parties? Well, I'm a planner, and I like planning stuff. If someone were to ask me to name just one key ingredient to a successful party, I would say plan as far in advance as possible. For my Christmas cookie exchanges, I start thinking of things in January. Now you don't have to do that, but that's me. The funny thing is, I've had friends call me in January suggesting things to do for the next party--11 months later.
Are you planning to attend a cookie swap this holiday season? Hosting your own for the first time or 20th time? Or just planning on eating a cookie this Christmas? Then you'll want to read through my experiences and practical tips for a down right good time: Hosting a Christmas Cookie Exchange
Yes, I like the planning part, but I really enjoy making people feel like they've made the right choice to spend a few hours of their busy lives with me and my family. I want them to leave happy and knowing that they are appreciated. Mary Kay Ash, known for many famous quotes throughout her life, used to say that we should imagine everyone wearing a sign around their neck that says, "Make me feel important." You don't have to throw some lavish party to make someone feel important--a small effort may be all it takes to make someone's day.
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I only have one child, so that means I only have to do one birthday party a year. His birthday is in late October, which is smack dab in the middle of college football season--something we're a little obsessed with here in the south. We find ways to work around it though.
Here are some birthday photos below--they include LEGO, Plants vs. Zombies (with a Bonfire for Grownups), Mario Brothers, Minecraft, Fall, and Angry Birds themed parties.
LEGO BIRTHDAY PARTY (AT THE LAKE)
Coloring pages and crafts are always a great way to keep the boys and girls busy.
You can't have a LEGO Fest without the LEGOs! This was a real treat, since we have a no-LEGOs-leave-the-house rule. We packed up several thousand bricks and took them down to the lake. Each and every one of them made it back home safely as far as I could tell.
Party guests got to guess how many pieces were loaded in this jar. The guesses ranged from 99 to 1,000,000, with the winner being this cute little lady in pink. She guessed closest to the actual amount--731. Yep, I counted every.single.one.
The beautiful Tennessee River
The party's over, but sometimes this river doesn't want you to go home just yet and gives you a nice show to take in for a little while longer.
PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES BIRTHDAY PARTY AND FALL BONFIRE (AT HOME)
My friend Kim with The Sweet Life made this terrific Plants vs. Zombies cake. My son insisted that it had to be 3-tiers. It turned out perfect and was delicious!
The grown-ups especially enjoyed the bonfire which was a little distance from the "party" area where the 20 or so kids were. Just beyond the blankets and wine barrel--where the trees are--is Calico Creek.
The always fun, and messy, gummi-worm-in-the-whipped-cream game!
Below is a rare picture of me (in front of someone else's camera)--and the birthday boy waiting patiently to play the game.
I don't know how many of these "pea shooters" that he and his dad built, but there were quite a few of them. I do know that I found what was left of 10 bags of mini marshmallows, I mean peas, in the grass as far out as I could see the next morning.
The other parents were grateful for the hand sanitizer favors. It's October, so the only little bottles I could find were pink for breast cancer awareness; I thought they turned out really cute and ended up supporting a good cause. The labels were printed from an Etsy find.
One of the things I love most about living in the country is getting to decorate for fall and the chance to use natural elements that are so plentiful this time of year.
SUPER MARIO BROTHERS BIRTHDAY PARTY (AT THE LAKE)
My sister made these colorful Mushroom Kingdom cupcakes.
White Chocolate Wii-motes made from a candy mold,
found here: CK Products Video Game Controller Chocolate Mold
DIY Super Mario Warp Pipe filled with Mustache Lollipops! Mustache Suckers - 1 dozen
My parents made this ice cream for the party, and it was fantastic!
'PRINCESS PEACH' HOMEMADE ICE CREAM RECIPE
2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 (29-oz.) can peaches, drained and chopped
1 (2-liter) bottle peach soda
Mix all ingredients well, place in an ice cream maker, and follow the manufacturer instructions.
Nostalgia ICMP400WD Vintage Collection 4-Quart Wood Bucket Electric Ice Cream Maker with Easy to Clean Liner
Ya Otta Pinata BB019386 Mushroom Pinata
Just for fun...my little Mario (a couple of years prior)
MINECRAFT BIRTHDAY PARTY (AT THE LAKE)
Square Pizza...of course
FALL BIRTHDAY PARTY (AT HOME)
ANGRY BIRDS BIRTHDAY PARTY (AT THE PARK)
What it's all about...