Friday, July 11, 2014

World Cup Party: Viva La FIFA

 I can't say that I follow the World Cup too much, but it seemed like a fun theme to have for July, so I went with it. It also seemed fairly easy, and since I was on vacation the entire week before the party, I decided "easy" sounded good.

Invitation: I modeled my invitation after a World Cup ticket I saw on the internet. The logos are everywhere, so adding those was not hard to do.

Entry Decor: I made this entry sign out of card stock and a foam board.  I found the image on Google and enlarged it to use as a template.  The letters I cut out using my Cricut. I was also planning to have a huge (4 foot) blow-up soccer ball near the door, but it had a hole in it! Bummer.

Inside Decor:  I set my table with fake grass I purchased at Home Depot. I then used white electrical tape to make the field outlines.  As you can tell in the photo, the tape didn't stick very well when trying to do the circle.  I made the flags with card stock and dowel rods.  The mini chocolate soccer balls I purchased at Party City and put them in the vases with green tissue paper.  The soccer ball plates I also purchased at Party City.

I made this banner using paper lanterns I purchased at Party City and flags made out of card stock.

I made these cake pop place cards for each guest. After dipping them in the flesh color, I then used a piping tip to do the brown hair.  The facial features I did with a toothpick.  I made the jerseys on Photoshop.  Each jersey was from the team the guest RSVP'd that they would represent, and I added the guest's last name to the back along with the date of their birthday to the front and back as their soccer number.

Just another photo of a Colombian place card.

For wine charms, I found images of soccer balls with various flags online.  Again, I tried to match up the guest's RSVP country with the glass.

Menu: I wanted my menu to reflect participating countries in the World Cup, but I didn't want the food to be so random that it didn't go well together.  My original plan was also to serve everything in cups for the World CUP, but I strayed from this as my time and ideas ran slim.  I started off guests with a Greek Salad. It was Romaine letter, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta, cucumber, and red pepper.

For the main meal, I asked my good friend to make traditional Colombian empanadas.  This is her mother's special (and secret) recipe, and they were AMAZING! Absolutely delicious!

As side dishes, I made Spanish Rice and black beans.  We added salsa to the beans and a little cilantro/extra spices to both for added flavor.

For dessert, I kept it simple.  I made chocolate pudding and placed a toasted Eggo waffle (cut out with a round cookie cutter) in the top.  Since Belgium is known for chocolate, and I love Belgium waffles, I figured this might be a good combo.  Yep...I was right...yum!

Favor: As a take-home gift, I bought water bottles from the Dollar Tree and added a ribbon and soccer ball to the front.

I made this tag to attach to the water bottle.

We had a great time. We'll see who takes home the World Cup title this Sunday!!

**As usual, if you would like the tag, invite, flags, etc. just send me an email, and I would be happy to share.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Spa-aaah Party

After booking a couple massage therapists to come to our school for Teacher Appreciation Week, I got the idea of having a Spa theme as my monthly dinner.  This school year has been a stressful one for me, and with all of the end of the year activities and banquets, I am still super busy.  I wanted just one night to relax (after all the planning and prep of course), so I decided on a Spa-aaah party.

Invite: My original plan was to scrapbook masks with the party details on the back, but since I was short on time, I created this mask-inspired invite on PhotoShop instead.

Entry Decor:  I wanted to keep the relaxing mood throughout the decor, so I stayed simple on the entry.  I made the entry sign on foam board and cut the letters on my Cricut machine.  The rocks I bought at the Dollar Tree (it took me a little less than 2 bags to do this).  I simply glued the rocks on with hot glue.  

Table Decor:  I used a light green tablecloth and placed the $5 Target mirror from my bedroom along the center of the table.  Then I added more Dollar Tree rocks and white candles on top of the mirror.  Simple, but it really set the mood.

Here's another photo of the entire table...

As place cards, I made these super easy figures of each of my guests.  I found a photo of a girl with a spa towel on her head and a different girl with arms.  Then I just used PhotoShop to combine them and add in my guest's face.  The robe is made using 4 makeup remover cotton rounds and two emery boards.

Besides wine, I served water with cucumber slices.  I also used lemon and cucumber slices as wine charms.  I have two of each etched design, so this was all I needed to distinguish them.

Relaxation:  One thing I splurged on for this party was hiring a massage therapist from Massage Envy to come.  She gave 10 minute chair massages to each guest, and they were amazing!!  All the girls are already asking to repeat this at every monthly dinner!

Another relaxation station was facial masks. I was originally planning to make my own masks (there are plenty of recipes on the internet), but I thought it would be more cost effective and less waste to just purchase Freeman masks. I did set out cold cucumbers for guests to place on their eyelids.  Tip:  They work best if they are super cold, so I recommend putting them over ice.

We also did foot soaks.  I bought the white bins and towels for each guest at Dollar Tree.  The rose petals I pulled from my garden.  I set out Epson salts for guests to spoon into each bath.

The jars of Eucalyptus sugar scrub were the favor for guests to take home at the end of the evening. It was very simple to make. I used a recipe found on Pinterest. The jars I bought at Michaels.

Menu:  My favorite part of the menu was the Avocado Face Mask appetizer.  It was not only so cute and fun, but it was also delicious!!  Here is the recipe I used:

2 (8 ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning
(season it to your taste)
1 fresh mozzarella cheese roll
1/2 cup guacamole
2 slices cucumber
1 roasted red pepper
In a bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese and taco seasoning. Stir well to combine.  Mold the mixture into the shape of a face. (I did this freehand, but the recipe I had said they purchased a face mask from Michaels.)  Slice the mozzarella cheese roll and lay it along the forehead to create the towel.  Spread guacamole over the face. Try to spread the guacamole in an oval over the face, leaving some of the pale orange cheese ball showing.  Cut cucumber and place on the eyes.  Cut lips out of roasted red pepper and place on face.  Serve with crackers.

Whenever I go to a spa I also crave a sandwich and salad, so that's what I decided to serve as my main course.  The salad was a BBQ Ranch Spa-licious Salad which included corn, black beans, tomato, avocado, cheese, and tortilla strips.

The sandwich was a Caprese sandwich served on focaccia bread. It was a grilled chicken breast, mozzarella cheese, and tomato with a pesto spread. Yum!

For dessert, I made a mud pie.  I designed a spa mask on top and called it a Mud Mask Pie.

Favor:  I made the sugar scrub as the favor, but I also made these cute spa "treat"ments for guests to take home.  The polish bottles are marshmallows rolled in melted candy chocolate with a tootsie roll on top.  I used a cut toothpick to hold them in place.  The files are just wafer cookies.

As usual, if you would like any of the templates for this party, just comment on this post.  I would be happy to email them to you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Kentucky Derby Party

The Kentucky Derby was this past Saturday, so as an excuse to dress up and wear fun hats, I made this my monthly dinner theme.  We had a lot of fun dressing up and eating some of the favorites of the Kentucky Derby.

Invite: I made a simple invite on PhotoShop for the party. I didn't decide the theme until the Thursday before the party, so I didn't have time to make anything extravagant.  If I had more time, I may have made horseshoes with the invitation details or a ticket to Churchill Downs for the event.

Entry Decor:  My family attended the cutest cowgirl themed birthday party for our friend Abby a couple weeks ago, and these adorable stick ponies were the party favor!  The hostess' mother made them all, and they are absolutely amazing! I wanted to incorporate them into the party, so I placed a colored piece of felt over their noses like race horses and gave them numbers.  I found a pallet near the trash at a local restaurant and grabbed it to use as the starting gate.  With a little grey paint, it did the job!  The "Get Down Get Derby" sign hung on the entry door. It is just foam board, card stock, and marker.

Here's some more close up photos of the horses (I realized too late that I put the numbers on the wrong side, so guests really couldn't see them as they walked toward the door...oops!)

Activity:  As guests entered, they placed their bets at the betting table.  I asked each guest to bring $2, and since the race happened on Saturday, I wanted to make sure even if someone knew the results, it wouldn't influence the winnings.  For this reason, I had guests draw a name for the horse they would be betting on.  I had DVR'd the race, so we watched it in between dinner and dessert.  I wanted to use the same terminology (Win, Place, Show) as the actual Kentucky Derby, so I divided the money based on this.  For example, to "show" means to place first, second, or third -- so the guests who drew the top 3 finishers names each got $2.  The first and second "place" finishers got an additional $3, and the winner got an additional $4 on top of that.

Inside Decor: My beverage table I called the "Watering Trough" to play up the horse theme. I served the traditional Mint Julep as well as wine.  The Mint Julep was VERY strong without the mound of ice to dilute it a beware if you are making these!

I served my mint juleps in mason jars (I didn't have the silver cups the recipe calls for). I made simple tags for the straws as well.

The wine charms I made to look like Kentucky Derby hats using felt, scrapbook flowers, ribbon, and small feathers.

Table Decor: I used a brown tablecloth and bought turf from Home Depot to make a table runner.  I checked GoodWill stores for trophies, but couldn't find one, so on a long shot (excuse the horse pun!) I called a local trophy company to see if they would allow me to rent one...they said yes! Isn't it perfect?

The Kentucky Derby is called the Run for the Roses, so I had to have some of red roses. (It was also a good excuse to buy myself flowers!)  The horses I bought at a Dollar Tree.

I made medals out of crepe paper streamers and card stock to use as place cards. The paper is just fan folded and taped to the back of the card stock.

I found these cute trophies 4 in a pack at the Dollar Store.  I used them as napkin rings.

Menu:  I ran out of time to create a cute menu display, but I served items all well-known at the Kentucky Derby.  I began with a green salad with candied walnuts, feta, and strawberries.  The strawberries were sliced into roses to symbolize the Run for the Roses.

The main dish was Kentucky Hot Browns with Pimento Cheese Mornay. Instead of making it in individual cast-iron pans like this recipe, a 9x13 baking dish was used.  This made it more like a casserole to dish up.  It was very tasty.  I served brown sugar glazed carrots with it.

For dessert, I made a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.  This was well-liked by many of the guests, but a bit too strong on the bourbon in my opinion.  It was overpowering some of the other flavors.

As an added dessert, I made chocolate horse suckers. When I wrapped them in clear bags it was hard to see them, so I placed them in a small medal bucket with brown sugar to hold them up.

Favor:  As a take-home gift, I gave each guest potted mint leaves to make future Mint Juleps. The tag read, "It MINT so much to have you here!" If you decide to give something like this, keep in mind that it can get expensive with pots, soil, and mint leaves.  Luckily a family friend from church has a garden with mint.  She let me steal enough for these favors, so I only had to purchase the pots. (Thank you Connie!)

This was a super fun party, and I would totally recommend hosting a party like this before a horse race.  I think all my friends had fun "trotting in" dressed up with big hats!