Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Throwing a party without losing your mind

Trust me, I know from experience that throwing even a small party can be stress inducing & time consuming, not to mention expensive.  With two kids, I've hosted my share of parties & have learned some things over the years.  So, how can you throw a successful party without breaking the bank & losing your mind?  I've got some tips for you!

1) Think & plan ahead.  This is very obvious, but I'm someone that looks at the big picture & sometimes forgets the small details which leaves me scrambling at the last second.  I'll figure out what's being served for food but then forget a mundane but important detail like paper plates or cups.  Now I break down the party into categories:  Appetizers, entrees, dessert, drinks & activities.  This helps me figure out what I need to pull of each category.

2) Prep as much as possible.  Since I work full-time, I specifically pick entrees that can be made ahead of time so I'm not a psycho on the day of the party.  For Reese's party I made a macaroni & cheese & a tortellini, bacon & spinach bake the morning before.  Not only do I want to make something that can be made ahead, but I want it to be the best recipe out there.  If I'm going to make mac n' cheese, it better be awesome!  So, I pick things based on the rating & amount of ratings.  The macaroni & cheese was the Barefoot Contessa's & had five stars with over 800 reviews.  I baked the red velvet cupcakes & made the Reesey Cakes Cookies on Wednesday & froze them until Saturday.

3) Do as little dishes as possible.  Some might find it tacky to serve food on paper plates along with plasticware, but I'm not one of them! If it makes me have more time to actually enjoy the party, I'm down.  Not only that, but I also buy throw-away pans for the main entrees so they can be pitched rather than soaked & washed.

4) Recruit help!!!  Years past, my family used to ask me what they could do to help, & I may have replied, "I've got it covered!"  But, not no more!  My sister Lauren, sister-in-law Melanie & my mom made appetizers & my sister-in-law Erika helped assemble the treat bags & Caprese salami skewers

5) Be realistic.  Pinterest & blogs have shown me that some people put an insane amount of time & money into creating their children's birthday parties.  While Googling "Minnie Party" I was shocked at the elaborate tablescapes & decorations I saw.  I'm happy for those families & don't knock them for their choices, but I can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on a 2nd birthday party & don't feel the need anyway.

6) Get the kids OUT!  I cannot get anything done when Reese is around & if I can, it's in ten minute spurts.  Saturday morning, Mike took the kids to pick Auntie Erika up from the airport & then went to the mall to play.  They were able to have fun while I was able to have three hours alone to get a ton done.

7) Don't go crazy cleaning.  I used to scour my entire house before a party, but I've learned that the house will only get dirty within a half hour of the party starting.  So now, I focus on making sure that the bathrooms are clean, I do a quick dusting, vacuum & tidy.  No mopping floors required!

And last but not least, I have to end with the annual picture of Reese, Samantha & Taylor!

We accidentally put Reese on the left this year, but you get the idea!  They were a mere 4 days old (Samantha), five days old (Reese) & 6 months old (Taylor) in the first picture & the second & third were taken at Reese's 1st & 2nd birthday parties.  I can see them at age 18 when we're taking the annual picture saying, "seriously, guys?"

The mommy's decided to get in on the action too!

And unfortunately Auntie Erika's short visit comes to an end as she heads back to Chicago today.  She was so sweet & washed our laundry, bedding, dusted & vacuumed yesterday while I worked.  I was so shocked & thankful when I came home!  We'll miss her lots!

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  1. love the mommy pic! so funny. taylor doesn't change, she looks exactly the same! glad you had a nice party! I love having parties - it doesn't really stress me at all but I agree those Pinterest people must spend thousands...I dont get it. Especially the one year parties. Come on people! Save your $$$

  2. Looks like a great time! Nice job, Allison. I love to host a party, but you're right, you don't have to spend tons of money. Pinterest sometimes makes me feel like a failure, but at the same time, I always find tons of great ideas on a budget too. Happy birthday, Reese!

  3. Thanks, gals! Yes, I do love having a party but sometimes I let the small details get past me & that stresses me out. But that's not what it's even about... it's about celebrating our little ones!