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Fun Camp Out Party

Camp Out Party

Any scout can tell you what makes the great outdoors so great – the cool accommodations! At this party the action is centered around a large tent set up in the yard. It can be organized as a sleepover or just an afternoon/evening event. Now that fall is upon us, evening temperatures are not sweltering and more pleasant for this type of celebration.

Of course, the main décor item for this theme is the TENT, but you can spiff up the inside with crepe streamers and tie helium filled balloons on the fence surrounding your back yard. If there is a tree near the tent site, consider colorful pennant banners tied from the tree to the tent. A large Happy Birthday banner can be hung across the face of the tent. Tissue balls and party lights can be hung in all the trees surrounding the area. Make a fun “Camp *******” sign to stake in the grass. Make up animal tracks and place on the ground to guide guests to certain areas of the party. Set out tin cups with each camper’s name written in permanent marker at each place setting along with compasses, flashlights and/or binoculars. Use red gingham table covers or lumberjack designs.

Party activities can be classic camp games like one legged race game, nature scavenger hunt or flashlight tag. Having a real campfire is a plus. If you don’t have the capacity for a pit in your back yard use a hibachi or rent/buy an inexpensive fire pit. You can sit around the fire and tell spooky stories, sing songs or play an interesting I spy game. What could be better for kids than classic camp out crafts. Decorate t-shirts, make keychains and make popsicle stick picture frames. Designate an area for taking pictures. Purchase a Camp Out theme photo prop set along with fun hats, jackets, backpacks, lanterns and other camping props.

The highlight of the evening can be an outdoor Movie. Reclaim the spirit of old Drive-in theaters, it will be a unique experience for little ones. Borrow or buy an inexpensive projector (maybe on Craig’s List) and use a bed sheet for the screen. Have fun snacks like popcorn, smores and trail mix. The main meal can consist of Hot Dogs and Hamburgers, cook over the fire or on a barbeque. Bake up a Camp theme cake or cupcakes. Have fun and enjoy the outdoors!

Time for Oktoberfest!

Celebrate Fall and German Heritage with a fun Oktoberfest party.  This is a perfect celebration to sample various beers, listen to fun upbeat music and to enjoy good food with family and friends. This is also a great theme for Bachelor Parties, Male Birthdays, Fund Raisers and Sporting events as well.

Oktoberfest Facts:

  • Oktoberfest is a 16-day to 18-day festival held in Munich, Germany every year, from late September to early October.
  • The first Oktoberfest was on October 12, 1810 in Munich to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
  • The event has been canceled 24 times due to cholera outbreaks and war.
  • Large amounts of German food and beer are consumed every year during the festival.
  • In 2007, the Oktoberfest in Germany attracted 6.2 Million visitors.
  • The colors of Oktoberfest are white and blue, the colors of the flag of Bavaria, Germany.

During Oktoberfest, large tents are set up and each one decorated according to their own theme and colors.  If you don’t have enough space indoors, set-up a pop-up tent  or pop-up canopy in your back yard or function space to mimic the Oktoberfest celebration and decorate with blue and white streamers, balloons, or themed gossamer.  For a party indoors, create a canopy over a dining room table with crepe streamers or Oktoberfest plastic décor tape available online or in some party stores.

White and light blue are the colors of the flag of the state of Bavaria, the largest state in Germany.  These colors are customary for Oktoberfest events but some people like to add a darker blue to the decorations. Get table cloths, plates and party supplies in white and blue, either solid colors or diamond pattern. Obtain posters from travel agencies to put all over the party room. A simple centerpiece to put together – get a dinner plate, place a beer stein in the middle.  Fill the stein with fresh flowers and add in small Oktoberfest or German flags.  Fill the plate around the stein with lots of large fresh pretzels.  Place on the party table with an Oktoberfest table cloth.  An instant simple, yet effective Oktoberfest centerpiece!  Make sure you have German music playing in the background by tuning into a Pandora station or picking up a German Polka CD. Have a Polka Dance lesson and contest for your guests. You can learn the steps with this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVnfVUWiBTU Have a German Costume contest too. Pass out German hats, blue beads and Oktoberfest theme horns to the party-goers to get in a festive mood.

Set up a table with a line-up of the beers available for tasting.  For each one, put out a place card with the name of the beer, origin, and any other trivia you may know about the beer and brewery. You can make up a simple food spread with assorted sausages, German potato salad, cooked Red Cabbage and lots of large warm pretzels. For dessert serve a German favorite Apple Strudel or Americanize the dessert and serve German Chocolate Cake (you know it was named after a person’s last name – not that is was a German recipe). “Prost”! (German for Cheers!)

 

Wedding Style Inspiration

Wedding Style

The biggest mistake a Bride can make is obsessing over a detail you have set in your mind, whether it be a specific color or look of a venue. Coming up with a wedding style should begin with the question: “how do I want myself and my guests to feel”?  Then envision big puzzle pieces like your dress and venue. Will a princess gown or stuffy ballroom fit the low-key dinner party vibe you hope to achieve? Not likely. Next think about what excites you visually. Maybe it’s a favorite movie or work of art. You might adopt the hues or design from these things to incorporate into your own dream wedding.  You want the mood to feel like a natural extension of you as a couple. This is essentially the biggest dinner party you’ll ever throw, so stick to what you know and love. Whether your hostess style is a fancy sit-down dinner or a casual hang with guests up and mingling, channel that at your reception. You both love waffles and mimosas? Exchange vows in the morning, then host a boozy brunch reception. Focus attention and budget on a few hero elements of those inspirations instead of “scattering your efforts” by forcing every aspect to fall in line.

Build a “Wedding Vision Board” using a large piece of foam core so you can add and take off items that don’t work. Gathering photos of venues, swatches of color, ribbons, fabrics, flowers or stationery can give you a much needed visual of what your mind is putting together. You may be obsessed with Blush and Gold but it might clash with your venue or the season you are planning your nuptials. Once you’ve made the physical display, a ready-to-send digital version keeps vendors working toward the same vision.

Choosing colors for your event can be a daunting task. This decision effects so many parts of your wedding, from stationery to décor to bridesmaids’ dresses. Start with what’s in your home and closet. Think about what colors you and your fiancé feel good in, whether it’s neutrals, jewel tones, pastels, or bright and bold all the way. If you don’t have a planner or designer (they should have a Pantone book) you can find the Pantone color book online at Pantone.com – scroll down to Color Tools and click on “find a Pantone color”.  You can purchase individual swatches online. I suggest getting a physical sample because digital hues will vary across screens. You should stick with a maximum of three statement colors and one neutral. When choosing colors consider your venue. Go with shades that complement the surroundings but aren’t to matchy-matchy.

FIVE POPULAR WEDDING MOODS

CLASSIC: Timeless, Elegant, Traditional = romantic roses or peonies and soft colors like cream & blush.

MODERN: Minimalist, Chic, Contemporary = clean lines, black & white, geometric décor

RUSTIC: Outdoorsy, Vintage, Natural = earthy, elegant candle, lace & floral accents on wooden pallets

BOHO: Trendy, Colorful, Unconventional = drawn to patterns and pampas grass, casual

GARDEN PARTY: Charming, Pastel, Whimsical = lush botanical touches, outdoor tents

Stay on point and budget. Identify nonnegotiables: once you have your guest list, narrow down priorities and high-ticket items. Research pays off: Do lots up front to avoid any latent sticker shock. Feel confident about your decisions by comparing prices online and searching for in-person discounts, in department store clearance sections and consignment shops. Don’t be afraid to DIY: If you can’t find the exact décor item you desire, consider making it yourself. You can save lots of money and create meaningful memories with your wedding party and family.

Tell your signature story using the right mix of colors décor, and personalized touches. Remember this is all about you and your soon to be husband! Congratulations!

Circus Theme Carnival/Party

A Carnival can be for a family Birthday Party, a School/Church Carnival or Neighborhood Get-together. A Circus Theme is favorite of mine. So colorful and entertaining. Try some of these ideas in your planning.

Balloons, Concessions and games all make a Circus/Carnival theme fun for everyone.

A “must” is hiring (or if a friend is able) a Clown to make Balloon Animals and other creations for the kiddos. If you have some children that are afraid of clowns many professionals offer friendly clowns. Some of these companies can offer Face Painting as well, which is a much-loved activity. Otherwise, you can have some of the older kids set up their own booth. You can see a tutorial on what you need to “do it yourself” here: https://www.howcast.com/videos/418834-how-to-set-up-a-face-painting-booth

Some games you might want to set up are a Bean Bag Throw and a Circus Shootout. For the bean bag throw, make a target out of plywood or foamcore. Paint the board with a circus related design and cut out holes large enough for the beanbags to go through. Each player gets to throw three beanbags at the target. You can make a shootout game by setting out ping pong balls decorated like clowns or circus animals on top of weighted 2-liter pop bottles. The player must shoot the ball off the bottle using a water or nerf gun. If you want to offer prizes for the game booths you can choose instant prizes that all the players win for participating or organize a Redemption system, where players earn tickets or punches on a card that they can redeem for larger prizes.

If you have the budget Petting Zoos and/or Pony Rides are an outstanding and memorable experience for party-goers. If you are lucky you may have a willing horse and/or animal owner in your group of friends that might volunteer. If not and you do not have the budget to hire, how about creating a petting zoo with stuffed animals? Find or borrow animals found in the circus – Lions, Elephants, Monkeys, Horses, Tigers, Giraffes, Zebras, Llamas, Birds, Bears, Sea Lions, Cats and Dogs. Surround the stuffed animals with a plastic fence, add some hay bales for effect and the kids will love it!

Food choices for this party scream Concession Machines. You can find Popcorn Machines, Cotton Candy Machines and Sno Cone Machines available for rental at your local Party Rental Company. Add Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Peanuts, Candy Apples and Cup Cakes and everyone will get their fill of  “Junk Food”!

And last but not least, Balloons! What Circus/Carnival would be without them. If the budget allows, hire a balloon decorator for Balloons Arches, Centerpieces and special Circus Theme Décor. Helium and Air-filled designs are perfect and the overall impact will make an event to remember. Be sure to add colorful plastic table-covers or linens to the tables and use Streamers, Pennant Banners and Paper Decorations throughout the areas for a color overload! Enjoy and come back to see our next post! We’ll surprise you!

How to throw a Cocktail Party!

Cocktail Party 101

The cocktail party is a perfect way of entertaining for occasions as diverse as a casual after work get-together to a New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Even though these types of parties are a throwback from the 50’s they are still popular and a staple in the hospitality industry. A perfect adult event that can be fun and rewarding.

Taking advice from caterers as to how they plan on the amount for drinks and how much to buy for cocktail parties, they use a formula that roughly estimates 10 people will consume 20 drinks at the average cocktail party. Make that 40 drinks if it’s a full evening affair, usually including dinner. This is based on a typical 1.5 Ounce shot of hard liquor.

So, how many drinks can you get out of a bottle? A 750 ml. bottle will yield about 17 cocktails. A liter bottle will yield 22. A 1.75-liter bottle will yield 39. For a party of wine drinkers, plan on stocking 5 bottles (750 ml) for 10 people. You should get roughly 5 servings per bottle. For beer drinkers, stock 5 six-packs for ten people, based on a twelve-ounce serving. If you have the budget and inclination, you can stock a full bar. However, a more economical idea is to offer a selection of cocktails that can be made from one or two primary types of liquor or to limit yourself to a wine and/or beer party.

If you do want to stock a full bar, you could go wild purchasing all kinds of exotic liqueurs and alcoholic concoctions, but most people’s imbibing needs can be met by having the following on hand: Vodka, Rum, Gin, Scotch, Bourbon, Blended Whiskey & Tequila. The mixers necessary for these alcohols will depend on the cocktails you plan on offering. I would suggest Juices (Orange, Grapefruit, Tomato Juice), Club Soda, Tonic Water, Cola, Lemon Lime Soda, Ginger Ale. Make sure you have Lemon and Lime slices and Olives available. Always have bottled water on hand.

If you’ve still got budget and want to offer more cocktail choices, consider choosing 5 of the most popular creations (maybe one’s your friends ask for) and stock ingredients to make them. According to bartenders 5 of the top sellers are Dry Martini (flavored one’s too), Old Fashioned, Margarita, Manhattan & Daiquiri.

Now that we have covered what to drink, how about some food? Most Cocktail parties are short and include snack food. Choose one recipe that requires cooking, add one or two that only require simple assembly. The rest of the snacks can be store-bought. And look for recipes that you can make in advance. A platter of crudités is always a good idea along with bowls of mixed nuts & pretzels. Oh, and skip the cheese board—it’ll just get messy. If you want to put out one nice cheese, though, go for it with some nice crackers and maybe some olives and salami. A nice finishing touch to an evening of cocktails is a dessert buffet and selection of coffee and teas. (btw if you need a large coffee machine we have them for rent!)

Enjoy Hosting!

Cake Baking Tips!

Here are some great tips for better cake baking.

Always preheat your oven at least 12 to 15 minutes before baking your cake. To ensure an easy release coat your pan with cooking spray and flour. For an extra smooth top cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the pan, grease the paper too. Bake on the middle rack and do not crowd if if you are cooking multiple pans.

It is a good idea to bake your cake a day in advance, fresh cakes can be to soft to work with. You can freeze your cake up to three months in advance if you wrap the cooled cake in a layer of plastic and a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Defrost completely in your refrigerator before frosting.

To cut a baked cake into a shape, use a serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion. To prevent the cake from slipping while you frost it, dab a little frosting onto the platter or cake board before you place the cake down. For a crumb-free frosting, crumb-coat your cake. To do this, spread a very thin layer of frosting on the cake, then refrigerate it. When the frosting is hard, frost and decorate the cake.

For a standard smooth frosted cake always start on the top with a straight-edged metal spatula. Begin with a pile of frosting in the center and spread to the sides. Next, frost the sides of the cake, working from the top to bottom. Smooth the frosting by dipping the spatula into a glass of hot water and running it at a slight angle across the top and sides. The trick is to use a single motion across the cake, rather than several small ones.

If you are adventurous, I am including two fun cakes that you can try your hand at. The first is a Hot Dog and Fries cake. Make this by using a baked loaf pan cake. Cut out the center of the cake and place two Twinkies in the center. Frost them with red frosting (mix red and brown together to make hot dog red). Add a squirt of mustard (yellow frosting) and some relish (diced gumdrops or fruit slices). For the fries cut off the outer brown edges of the loaf cake and use the reserved center piece you cut out for the Twinkies. Slice into French fry pieces and brown on all sides under a broiler. After they are cooled drizzle them with ketchup (red frosting).

Another fun cake is a Sleepover cake. Bake a 13-by-9-by-2 cake. Turn the cake upside down and slightly frost it. Cut Twinkies in half lengthwise and place the tops cut side down on the cake bed. Frost a pink sheet on the top third of the cake. Place a marshmallow at the top of each twinkie and flatten (pillow) then position a vanilla or chocolate wafer on each pillow (faces). Frost a light pink blanket over the Twinkies and use gel icing or sprinkles to decorate the blanket. Let the party goers decorate their own face using gel icing (hair) and mini jawbreakers (eyes).

Enjoy and have fun baking!

Shangri-la-de-da Adult Pool Party

PoolPartyCollage

As an adult we all have some memory of a sun-drenched beach, tropical cocktails and feeling like we are at some exotic embassy party. Whether it was a cruise you took, a foreign vacation or just pretend at your own pool. Here is an opportunity to have some adult fun, without the kids. Time to enjoy friendships and the sultry summer weather.

Invite your friends to your Shangi-La-De-Da Pool Party. The event will start in the late afternoon with some swimming and sunning, perhaps some light pool games and plenty of Tropical Drinks and/or Punch. As the sun sets your guests will change into something linen and cool, ready for a meal and some socializing and entertainment.

The best part about being at the pool in the evening is the foreign, luxurious atmosphere. Create this by putting small lights in trees around the area. You can use mini Christmas lights or the big round bulbs available in many stores summer sections. Load up on floating candles and place them in the pool. Purchase and place tiki torches or freestanding candle lanterns around the area. Make or buy Luminaries to place around the pool and walking areas. Buy inexpensive three tired vegetable and fruit baskets and hang them from the outer branches of trees that are further out, place a small glass container with a candle set in sand on each tier. You might consider using battery operated candles for less maintenance during the night. If you have room (and it is legal in your community) build or purchase a ready made open fire pit.

For Food and Beverage service use unbreakable colorful glasses and plates. Discover an abundance of these at the dollar stores during the summer. Just mix and match whatever colors makes you happy. However, use your best linens and silverware to make the affair elegant. If you don’t have them, rent some Umbrella Tables for around the pool with linens and some Bistro/Cocktail tables with linens for people to stand at. For the buffet area bring out (or borrow) some house plants to place on the table with some up lighting. Sprinkle with flowers. Place trays of cut fruit and vegetables for the afternoon, along with some small cakes. Purchase some inflatable buffet ice trays that will keep the food cool. Dinner is grilled (on your own BBQ) Panini Sandwiches. Choose from beef, turkey, ham or even fish; find recipes and “how to’s” here https://www.cooking-outdoors.com/make-panini-sandwich-grill/  Have a tray of sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and served with fresh basil and slices of mozzarella. Make a seasonal salad with lots of fresh greens. A cool refreshing Dessert is Gelato (Italian Ice).

Entertainment easily consist of putting together a playlist of your favorite beach tunes. XM Radio and Pandora both have stations during the summer called Yacht Rock. It is soft rock hits, perfect for this type of gathering. Have a clear area by the pool set aside for dancing. Enjoy the evening and your friends and family! Happy Summer!

Summer of Love Party

Summer of Love Party

The Summer of 1967 was a turning point, a funky juncture where innocence converged with disillusionment. Music got a little edgier. The music of 1967 beautifully captured the spirit of the Summer of Love, that is what this party is all about. A sampling of the titles that were popular that year are as follows (I got chills just writing this list, the music and Artists are so timeless);

All you Need is Love–The Beatles, Light my Fire-The Doors, Whiter Shade of Pale-Procol Harum, I’m a Believer–The Monkees, The Letter–Neon Rainbow, San Francisco–Scott McKenzie, Dedicated to the One I Love–Mamas & Papas, I Think We’re Alone Now-Tommy James & the Shondells, White Rabbit-Jefferson Airplane, Carrie-Anne-The Hollies, I Can See for Miles–The Who, The Beat Goes On-Sonny & Cher, Let’s Live for Today-Grass Roots, I Had to Much to Dream Last Night-the Electric Prunes, Society’s Child-Janis Ian, Here Comes My Baby-The Tremeloes, Happy Together-The Turtles, Let’s Spend the Night Together-The Rolling Stones, Nights in White Satin-The Moody Blues. Other Artists Popular in the late 60’s were; Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Buffalo Springfield, The Grateful Dead, The Byrds, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Association, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Sly & The Family Stone. Make sure you put together a playlist of this great music to play in the background and to dance to during the party.

Use the “words of the day” in the invitation like; Groovy, Far Out, Can you Dig it, Hang Loose, It’s a Gas, Heavy or That’s Boss! Remember to tell your guests to dress the part. Decorating can be a lot of fun. These ideas can be used indoors and outdoors. If you don’t own them, Rent Black Lights, Strobe Lights and any other Multi Colored Rotating Lights. Colored Christmas Lights work well too. Brightly Colored Paper Lanterns, Peace Signs, Plenty of Cut Out Flowers and Smiley Yellow Faces can be hung about (walls, trees, fencing Etc.). Go to the thrift store and try to find some albums (Vinyl) from the era and use them to decorate the walls also. Place Daisies in Mason Jars for the tables & serving areas. Along with having enough tables and chairs for guests consider getting lots of pillows and blankets to throw on the floor or grassy areas. You can sew slip covers for the pillows out of random fabrics or pick up pillow cases from the thrift store and Tie Dye them.  Decorate with 60’s Theme Foil Balloons and Brightly Colored Latex Balloons, helium and air-filled designs can be used both indoors and out. Have some large 3ft Air-Filled Balloons laying around for guests to bat back and forth.

If you can find Glow in the Dark body paints or Neon Paints, have a table set up with paper plates & brushes for your ‘Hippies” to adorn themselves with drawing! Have some Peter Max art photos lying around for inspiration. You can set out temporary tattoos also, find them for this theme at party stores. If you have your black lights on in this area everyone will glow under them. Include some coloring books and crayons for doodling as well. This table will, for sure, be a favorite. Fill some wading pools with water and set some garden hoses in case people want to get crazy and wet. Learn and teach your guests popular dances from the 60’s, Examples; Loco-motion, Twist, Swim, The Mashed Potato, The Shimmy, The Hitch-Hike, The Monkey, The Jerk or the Watusi. Play a Trivia Game using the Popular TV Shows from that Era, Examples; Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeanie, The Munsters, Bonanza, My Favorite Martian, Leave it to Beaver or The Brady Bunch (just to name a few).

Food for this party should be towards the natural side. Raw Veggies, Variety Cheeses, Nuts, Chips and Guacamole, Fruits and maybe a yogurt bar with Granola and other toppings and a Burrito Bar. For a special dessert make sure you make some Brownies (whether you spike them or not is up to you and your guest list,,,,shhhh).

Family, Friends or School Reunions

Summertime is a perfect opportunity to plan a reunion since the kids are out of school and many people plan vacation time during this season. Whether it be a Family Reunion, Friends Reunion, School Reunion or Old Neighborhood Reunion an event like this calls for special planning. It is wise to ask for help from someone who lives near you. If the reunion is going to be large, more assistance will be needed, setup in committees. One group to arrange lodging for out-of-towners, one to organize and shop for food and beverages and one to organize activities and decorate.

After making the “List” of people to invite, send out e-vites or letters well in advance so guests can make their plans around the date. Now the committees come into play. Together decide on what type of party you are going to have. Picnic, at a Venue, Potluck, Catered, On a Riverboat, at a Park, at someone’s home etc. Figure out a budget and let each family know how much they will need to donate to get this done, don’t take on all the financial burden yourself!

Decorations will definitely need to include photos of everyone. You can invite guests to bring photo albums to place about for others to view. You can create a photo wall/table or a family tree using each member’s photo. String photos on a twine line or banner and hang over drink tables and buffet tables. If it’s a sit-down affair put the photos at each person’s place setting. If you have photos from past events make sure you place those prominently with notes describing the memory. If you have had losses since the last get-together create a memorial table honoring them. Balloons are always a welcome décor idea, better indoors than outdoors; but if the event is held outdoors Balloon Garlands (as pictured) or Clusters do well. You can tie them to fences, awnings, poles, trees and the like. Avoid helium filled decor because, more then likely, they will just blow around into peoples faces, not a pleasant experience. Ask a professional to help.

Most adults usually spend much of their time catching up on news while the kids run off and play but a few structured activities can bring everyone together. Have an awards ceremony after the meal, with prizes or small trophies for the reunion member who; traveled the farthest, is the oldest, is the youngest, arrived the latest, drove the biggest car, has the largest family or any other milestones you can think of. Ask the oldest member to share a story of their life, this is always special for the little ones. Set up a photo booth for everyone to capture memories and share the next time! Make up Trivia cards with information from guests. Send a questionnaire ahead of time to collect facts for the cards. During the gathering, split the group into several teams—the size of the teams will depend on how large the group is. You can do this Jeopardy-style or take turns asking each team questions like in traditional trivial pursuit. Enjoy your time together and cherish every moment!

Moving Away Party

Going Away Party

In this highly mobile society, we all see a lot of friends come and go. The best thing to do when old friends, colleagues or family leave our lives is to throw them a party they’re not likely to forget.

A “moveable feast” or “progressive dinner” is a great theme for a moving away party. Ask three other guests to help host the party by having part of the progressive dinner in their homes, and then divide the evening into quarters. Begin with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at one house, and move on to the next house for soup and salad. Allow plenty of time for everyone to eat their fill, but warn people not to eat too much because there will be two more stops. Go to the third house for the main course, and wrap up the evening at a fourth home with dessert, after-dinner drinks, and coffee. Be sure to plan your feast with three hosts who live near one another so there isn’t too much travel time. Car pool if possible, to keep the party full of energy and to allow friends to continue their conversations. If alcohol is going to be served at any of the stops. Ask your guests to select designated drivers before the party begins – or hire a limousine to transport your guests from house to house. If you know a particular cuisine that will be at the guests of honor new location use this for the theme of the courses. Or mix some of his/her favorite local food with some of the new food at the new location. For the dessert see if you can have a cake made in the shape of the new state/country!

Ask your guests to send or bring some memorable photo from past events-the ski weekend, the camping trip, or the yearly Halloween party-then put the photos in an album, write some funny captions, and present it to the relocating guest during the party. Ask each guest to bring the name, address, and phone number (and a photo, if possible) of someone they know in the guest of honor’s new city. The lucky “mover” will than have several new contacts!

Decorate by making a centerpiece containing items that symbolize the area the guest of honor is moving to. Use a ten-gallon hat for Texas, a variety of cheeses for Wisconsin, or a bowlful of pasta for Italy. Joke gifts are fun too-a rubber worm in an apple for New York City, for example. Make place settings from flags representing the new state or country your guest of honor is moving to, and use the state or country colors for balloons, tables covers and tableware. Look up the Flower that represents the state or country and use it in arrangements for the tables. If your guest of honor’s destination suggests any particular type or piece of music, play it in the background during the party. For example-Zydeco for Louisiana, Western Music for Texas, Show Tunes for New York, Hollywood Movie Themes for California- do some research online for artist and music genre popular in the area. Pick up travel brochures and guide books for the new home area and scatter on the tables for everyone to read.

Give the guest of honor a “survival kit” full of stationery, Cookies, Crossword Books, Coloring Books and Crayons, a mug with a saying about Friendship, Water Bottles, Wet Wipes, Tissues, Tums, Aspirin, Bandages, Gum and notes from their friends and family about how much they will be missed. Add an address book with all the guests addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Give them a one-year subscription to his/her old newspaper to help ease the transition from one place to another.