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Monday, May 31, 2010

Simpler entertaining

We host 4 birthday parties a year in our home from Jan-May with 20+ adult guests, and countless kids...well, not really "countless"...don't want anyone to think I don't keep tabs on their kiddos! ;P

With 4 kid we've hosted 36 birthday parties to date so I've learned by trial and error. Maybe some of my tips will help save your sanity when you host your next event!

We used to buy everything we needed the day before the party. That usually meant me sending my husband out on party day for a last minute shopping trip because I forgot something. We used to prep things the day of the party, and even bake the cakes the morning of.

I found that if I make a list of everything I will need for the party and buy a little at a time it sems like a much less daunting task, plus it enables me to search for deals! If I find 2 liters of pop on sale 2 weeks before the party I can stock up and store them in the garage until party day. Check! One less item (or 10) off the list!

The day before the party I evaluate the list, double check my pantry to ensure I have it all covered, and then make one last trip for any odds and ends that were not purchased ahead.

I made a list a few weeks before the party of what foods we wanted, and every day that I went to the store for something I picked up one or two items. Instead of letting the long list overwhelm me I just checked it off a few things at a time. It was so much easier!

We cut up all the veggies for a veggie tray the night before. We put our pork loin in the crock pot at midnight the night before (for pulled Italian Pork). We lined up the 2 liters and layed out the serving trays, much like I would set the table for dinner. We did all the prep work the night before just 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there. It was easy, and I was more relaxed knowing that if something didn't turn out right I had time to replace/fix the item!

We baked the cake the day before, and iced it just before we went to bed. I stored it in the fridge, and pulled it out an hour before the guests arrived and it tasted just as fresh as if I would have made it that morning!
I go to the party store a few days before the party, pick out a balloon bouquet, rder it to be picked up a few hours before the party starts on party day. This way there is no waiting in line, and the balloons are paid for in advance so I can escape the house just before the party to pick up the balloons and take a few deep breaths before we are knee deep in kids and toys!
We buy all of the plates, napkins, and decor a few weeks ahead of time too. This gives us time to find what the kids want, as well as time to watch for sales. We also then have time to order online if the kids are wanting something that is hard to find locally, or if it's cheaper online!
The day of the party we just have to set out the veggie tray, condiments, cake, and other food items. No real perp work is needed, and that gives us time to just get ready and enjoy the birthday child before they are consumed by friends and relatives. It makes it nicer to entertain when the day doesn't start out with chaos!
Happy celebrating!

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