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.
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!
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!