Every Day’s a Holiday!

I’ve been quiet much too long. I don’t know if I have any followers on this blog, if I do, I’m sorry. My purpose of starting this web log was to share ideas on how to celebrate life. But, with what has been going on lately, celebrating seems to have disappeared from our existence. We need to change that, and fast! The good Lord didn’t intend for us to be miserable in this beautiful world. Hopefully, this article might help!

At the beginning of the year I found this adorable little calendar “Every Day’s a Holiday” by TF Publishing out of Indianapolis. It’s pinned to my pegboard with important social media goal dates and the sort. Lately it has looked pretty pathetic, but this calendar has still made me smile!

With holidays like Apple Turnover Day, Junk Food Day, Drive-in Movie Day, Hug Your Cat Day, and Geek Pride Day, how could you not squeeze a grin out! On this calendar, today is French fries Day, so I think I’ll make some for dinner. And each time I shove one in my mouth, I will rejoice! Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is Friday the 16th! I’m so excited about that one, I love guinea pigs! I’m guessing I’ll have to post some pictures of them on my Facebook page to delight others.

So here we are, and I have to make a point or party tip for this post. Well, we could decorate every day with the holiday’s theme or better yet, let’s plan on picking two or three a week that encourages us to revel. There are some great websites that are dedicated to holidays. Earth Calendar has holidays from every country and day. It goes back as far as 2003. Fun to research! http://www.earthcalendar.net/index.php Another site is Holiday Insights. They have some very wacky fun days you could get into! http://www.holidayinsights.com/ The National Day Calendar will send you reminders in your email. They boast “Don’t find yourself unprepared for Talk Like a Pirate Day or Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day!” https://nationaldaycalendar.com/ This site is amazing, it also gives you the research on each holiday and ideas on how to observe it! An example is the Cow appreciation day history = “Chick-Fil-A created Cow Appreciation Day in commemoration of Heff R. Jones and his humorous ‘EAT MOR CHIKIN’ billboard campaign that took place in 1995. In 2004, we launched the first event. It led to a fun and entertaining promotion for the restaurant.” They also have National Weeks and National Months listed.

I found out through these wonderful people that July is “Anti-Boredom Month”. So I’m taking their advice on how to honor this month and every month in the future. Quoting from their website…..

Finding creative and healthy ways to beat boredom will improve our everyday lives. Once we’ve identified our causes, approach boredom with a set of positive challenges or stimuli to keep it at bay.

  • Play–Board games are an excellent way to fight boredom.
  • Get physical–Exercise not only provides stimuli but also helps change the scenery and improve health.
  • Learn–Visit a museum, read a book or take a class.
  • Clean -Tackling a cluttered cupboard, closet or even garage brings about a bit of satisfaction for a job well done.
  • Cook–Making in our own kitchen with ingredients we enjoy gives us two ways to be satisfied.
  • Be creative–Even if you usually don’t create, just trying can help break the boredom cycle.
  • Volunteer–Helping someone who needs something more than you often makes us reassess why we were bored in the first place.
  • Get social–Visit a friend or neighbor. Kids, this includes you! Aunts, uncles or cousins would enjoy a friendly conversation over an ice-cold popsicle.

Thank you for reading and I promise, I’ll add more creative ideas to celebrate for children and adults alike. Life is for whooping it up and praise!

God bless you all!

Covid-19 Indoor Camping Trip

Your summer plans are likely in a bit of disarray due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be rethinking plans to send your children to summer camp or your camps may be cancelled altogether. No need to worry! Check out these great ideas for an “Indoor Camping Trip”!

The first part of this adventure is to set up a tent. Move large pieces of furniture out of the way so you have a nice sized area to create your campsite. If you don’t have a real tent you can use sheets or blankets to make a canopy. You can get some great instruction for constructing temporary tents here https://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Indoor-Tent  If you have sleeping bags put them under the tent. Or you can pile up pillows and blankets. Anything comfortable.

Bonfires aren’t very transferable to indoor camping parties (unless you don’t mind burning your house down) but this is a really easy way to make a safe, indoor campfire using some old toilet paper rolls. Paint the tubes different shades of brown. You can make them look like wood with light colored stripes.  Arrange them like a camp fire and tuck in some red, yellow and orange tissue paper. You can use some tissue shred as well. Cut red and yellow shiny card stock for flames. Pop a few LED candles in the middle. LED candles are battery powered and much, much safer than a real flame and won’t cause a fire if they’re knocked over. They shine pretty brightly too so you could create a bit of atmosphere by turning off the lights and eating in the light of your fake bonfire!

Stringing mini Christmas lights around the area can mimic a starry night sky. If you have some camp chairs bring them down from the attic and place them around the campfire. If your kids have large stuffed animals bring them to the party too. Place the creatures around the area to be your forest friends. Look for a CD of nature sounds and play that in the background. They can be found online or at Barnes & Noble. Also check a used book store. Grab a bunch of small flashlights for everyone to have. They will be great tools for storytelling and games. Stock up on some glow necklaces and bracelets for fun in the dark.

Now it is time to stock up on tasty camping food! An indoor camping party means you can really go to town on themed food! Think about all the things you’d eat if you were going on a real camping trip and simply recreate them! Here are a few ideas to get you started: Hot dogs or burgers. Sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly is my favorite!), one pot meals like stew or mac and cheese or any finger type food and/or trail mixes. And it wouldn’t be a real camping experience without Smores! You can easily make indoor smores and they literally take about 30 seconds and are so yummy!  You can use standard ingredients, add peanut butter, use Nutella, or substitute a chocolate bar of your choice. Cut the graham cracker in half and add a big marshmallow on top- pop in micro for 15 seconds.  Add your chocolate bar of choice and micro for 5-10 more seconds. Top with the other half of the graham cracker and voila! One little slice of heaven on a plate. Don’t forget breakfast treats the next morning. Pancakes and bacon – Yumm!

Hopefully you can convince your kids that you can have fun without the internet. Make a rule – NO PHONES – for this camping trip. Sit around your faux bonfire and sing camp songs. You can find the lyrics and guitar chords to some of the classics here https://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/camp-songs.html#.XvT8IyhKjIU If you are unsure of the melody check on YouTube beforehand. Make sure you print out the lyrics so no one is staring at a cell phone screen.

Play cards games. My favorite game to play on our yearly camping trip was Cribbage but if the kids are to young for this game there is always Uno, Fish or Old Maid. An unusual card game that the kids will adore is “Blind Man’s Bluff”. The standard version is simply high card wins. Each player is dealt one card from a standard deck and they display it to all other players (traditionally stuck to the forehead facing outwards- supposedly like an Indian feather). This is followed by a round of betting. Players attempt to guess if they have the highest card based on the distribution of visible cards and how other players are betting. Not to get cash involved, bet with jelly beans or candy bars. Art and craft projects are always fun and keep kids entertained. Rock painting has become very popular and people love leaving them in public places for others to find. Set up a craft table and find smooth river rocks. Have paint supplies handy for the rocks and maybe some other projects like popsicle stick frames and tin can pencil holders.

Next, I remember so well how scary stories around the campfire was the highlight of the night! A good resource for some of the most memorable stories is here https://www.bustle.com/articles/191893-10-spooky-campfire-stories-to-tell-your-friends-in-the-dark. Again, print them out so you keep the no phone rule. Reading a book to the group is another way to enjoy your campout. Chose some kid friendly books like Don’t Feed the Bear by Kathleen Doherty, Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt or Mouse Scouts: Campout by Sarah Dillard. Maybe you can have an older child read to the little ones.

Now that you know how, lets get to camping! Stay safe and wash your hands!

Jungle/Safari Parties for Young & Old!

Jungle-Safari Party

A jungle themed party is fun for a wide range of age groups. Safari/Jungle themes can be used for Juvenile Birthdays, Older Children, Adult Parties, Baby Showers and even a Wedding Shower theme (Tropical Destination Weddings). You can find a wide range of decorations for any of these age groups. Crossover to a tropical theme can make this party idea more grown up.

Decorating your house, garden, or rented space for a jungle party is great fun. You can always buy jungle party decorations but a little imagination and some clever use of materials, balloons and decorations will really set the jungle scene. The good news is that jungle colors can be any colors really, as long as you include lots of green. An archway of green, red, orange, yellow, blue and brown balloons would be a great way for guests to enter the ‘jungle’, and how about attaching some strips of soft green and brown material that will hang down like vines, making them feel like they really are headed into the undergrowth. I love the Balloon Columns & Centerpieces (pictured) placed around the party area and on tables.

You could present each guest with a map and a passport so that they feel like real explorers. Or alternatively, you could give them animal masks, which you can pick up pretty cheaply from most party shops, so you can get them all monkeying around in the jungle.

Cover your chairs and walls in green material, and hang green streamers from the ceiling like crawling vines to make your party space look really wild and untamed. And if you don’t mind a bit of extra mess, you could even scatter some leaves about that you’ve collected from your garden. Stick some google eyes to the green cloth to make it seem as if there are lots of animals peeping out through the trees. There are lots of jungle backdrops available today so you can use those along with green plastic tablecovers, leaves and house plants to create your jungle. Using stuffed animals or cardboard cutouts of safari animals go a long way to make people feel like they are in the wild.

You can convert most common party games into a Jungle theme. Things like Charades, Pin the Tail, Backyard Tag and Scavenger Hunts take on a Safari theme easily. Crafts can range from decorating your own Safari/Pith hat to Making your own Animal Masks. Face painting is always a favorite for kids, you can paint on the animals faces. For older party goers consider pasting an animal name on each guest back as they enter. The game is for them to guess what animal they are by asking only “yes” or “no” questions to others to gain clues.

Food for a juvenile party may consist of Animal Crackers, Unshelled Peanuts, Gummy Worms, Bugs on a Log (Celery with peanut butter and raisins) or Animal-striped Pizzas (you can be very creative with this one by making your own pizzas using alternates of white, yellow and orange cheese strips to look like animal print. You can also add toppings in alternates, like a row of olives in a diagonal, then a row of cheese, another row of olives, etc. for tasty animal stripes). Feeding older crowds can include a specific cuisine. You can decide what jungle you may be re-creating and choose the cuisine to match. The ten most amazing jungles are in Borneo (Indonesian), the Brazilian Amazon, India the Jungles of Kipling, Sri Lanka (Indian Ocean), West Africa, New Guinea, Australian Christmas Island, New Zealand, Peru and Costa Rica. As you can see you have a wide range of foods you can choose from.

Whatever direction you decide to go just make sure your get your “ROAR” on and enjoy!

Divide & Conquer – Best Potluck EVER!

 

May I speak freely? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had much luck at a potluck.

I don’t want to offend, but why do potluck members have such a fervent desire to make Jell-O? Don’t pretend you haven’t seen this. For the spring potluck, someone always shows up with a Jell-O bunny mold surrounded by-oh the wonder of it all! -green coconut. Within an hour, the black jellybean eyes have bled into the Jell-O, and the bunny looks as if it came straight out of Children of the Corn. Standing nearby without fail is its creator, needling people into “just a little taste of the ear”.

When reduced to the simplest form, the Divide and Conquer party is a potluck with one important exception: You will take on the title of Supreme Potluck Commander in order to make it an elegant affair. And if anybody asks, “should I bring Jell-O?” the answer is no.

As Supreme Potluck Commander, you’ll contribute the main dish. Ask each guest to provide one or more items to complete your menu. The key is to create something stylish without demanding too much on short notice. Assign categories of food to participants. Try a simple sign-up sheet that you can email around to everyone. When making your list specify what foods should be brought. Use the guide below to put this upscale meal together.

ENTRÉE: Chicken Breasts, pork chops or pork tenderloin – using a marinade and grill or broil.

SALAD: Fresh Greens, Veggies, Fruit tossed – with dressings on the side.

VEGGIES: Steamed are best (avoid casseroles) broccoli, corn, green beans or mixed. Sprinkle with lemon juice and/or Mrs. Dash type seasoning.

RICE AND/OR PASTA: Using stock to cook rice or pasta makes it more flavorful, sprinkle with herbs.

BREAD: Rolls or French loaves should be warmed for the best flavor. This donation should include butter or flavored olive oil to dip bread. Flavored oil can be placed on the tables in small glass bowls.

DESSERT: Brownies dusted with confectioners’ sugar, seasonal pies or cake.

BEVERAGES: If your organization allows wine and beer, coffee, iced tea, water and here in Texas you must have Dr Pepper.

A special note to label your food. Don’t make guests guess at what they’re eating. Provide a recipe name and any warnings necessary (i.e., contains nuts, shellfish, dairy, gluten, etc.). Your extra effort will be appreciated, especially by those with food allergies or intolerances.

Ask for help with utensils, cutlery and dishes. Because you want this potluck to be a swankier event use real dishes and cutlery. You can mix and match designs, in fact mismatched table settings is a fashionable trend.  Make sure you have pitchers for water on the tables, plenty of serving pieces and wine and/or drink glasses. If your organization does not have a coffeemaker you can easily rent one. If you don’t have cloth napkins purchase the better “almost like linen” napkins. Use some twine or pretty ribbon for a napkin ring. And definitely use linens on the tables and candles. You can use votives in mugs and on saucers or if you have enough taper holders place them on the tables too.

Prep a playlist for background music for your party. The last thing you want to be doing when your guests arrive is fiddling around with the playlist and trying to get it right. Plan ahead of time by making a suitable playlist in advance. Set the mood for your celebration because there are no awkward silences allowed at your potluck!

Be prepared for leftovers. Have plenty of plastic containers on hand. Keep food safety in mind by throwing away any leftovers that have been sitting out for more than two hours.

Follow this guide and you will never have a potluck fail again!

Favorite Stuffed Animal Party

Stuffed Animal Party

All children love stuffed animals, and all adults have had one when they were kids. We can all relate to the comfort and even support these animals gave us. So, having a themed party (birthday or just because) around the idea of stuffed animals is a great way to celebrate.

On your party invitations, invite your guests to choose their favorite stuffed animal to come with them. This gives each child a sense of participation even before the party.

When your guests arrive, sit them all down in a circle and ask each child to introduce his or her stuffed animal. Ask them to share a story about their favorite Stuffed Animal. My daughter lost her “Bear-Bear” when we were out shopping one day and we made up “Lost Posters with a Reward” and put them up all around the area we lived. We put an ad in the paper and posted notices up at all the stores in the mall. She was finally reunited with her Favorite Stuffed Animal. Stories like this will bond the children and let them share something very special.

Then get the kids to make name tags (ID Tags) to tie around the animal’s neck with a ribbon. Have the children cut shapes from poster board in different colors and give the kids crayons or fine-tipped Sharpies to decorate the tags and write their animal’s name.

Another craft can be making sleeping bags for their Favorite Stuffed Animal. Before the party prepare several different sizes of bags. Make them from a simple muslin or felt fabric for decorating. At the party have all sorts of paints, buttons, glitter, sequins, patterned duct tape, etc. so the children can personalize the sleeping bag.

Set up a place with a collection of doll clothes and accessories. Let kids dress up their animals and then show them off in a fashion show.  Award prizes for things like cutest, funniest, prettiest, silliest etc. Make sure you have enough categories so everyone can win a prize.

You can either make a cake in the shape of an animal or buy one and place tiny plastic animals on it. After the cake eating, let each child choose one of the little animals. Or consider making cupcakes with an animal on top each cake, and the choosing will be done right away!

The love of stuffed animals brings children together. It is one of childhood’s great common denominators. And a party like this one involves all the guests in participating to make the party fun and creative.

Giant Children What?????

giantlandpartycollage

In a world where everything is so much bigger than our children at this “Giantland” party your Giant Birthday Child and their Giant guests get to rule! By decorating the house with miniatures, you’ll make the “giant” kids feel big and important. Invitations can be written on wide butcher paper or white gift wrap. Write the invitation copy in HUGE letters. You can roll up and tie (if hand delivered) or fold up to fit in an envelope. This decoration idea can serve as an activity as well. Build small worlds in large cardboard boxes or plastic boxes. For an “Artic World” you can use water beads found at craft stores and broken Styrofoam pieces for icebergs the miniature penguins can sit on. You can add shells, sea lions and whales to this world. Another spin off of this is to create “Sea World” adding sand and all sorts of miniature sea animals. How about a miniature “Jungle World”! Use a piece of astro turf or left-over Easter grass for the floor and add your own house plants. Use stones, pieces of wood, branches and plenty of miniature wild animals. For a miniature “Farm World” use coffee grounds as dirt and green felt or astro turf for grassy areas. Use a blue paper plate for a pond area and fill with miniature ducks/geese. Add little fences to keep your cows, goats and pigs separated. On a larger scale you can create a miniature “City World” using cardboard boxes of all sizes. Paint them and add windows. Use Black poster board for cutting out roads and add miniature cars and trucks to the scene. The miniatures can be found in the party favor section of your local party store or online. Since your kids are Giants the balloons for the party need to be small too. You can use the small foil balloons florists use in arrangements that are on a stick. You can purchase 5” latex balloons and since they will not float because they are too small attach them to a stick that can be found in party stores. Rent children’s chairs and tables for the guests. They are so darling (meant for toddlers) and will make the kids feel Giant!  Purchase small plates, cups and cutlery used for playhouses (tea parties) for serving food. And the food needs to be tiny too. Bake or purchase miniature cupcakes and serve with the small cans or soda, mini sandwiches and mini carrots and dip. A game that can be played is “Giant Leap Frog”. With masking tape, tape two straight lines about 6 feet long and 12 inches apart. Place obstacles between the lines, like stuffed animals, toys, shoes etc. (soft items in case children fall on them). Tell the them that each line is the bank of a river and what these giants have to do is leap over the river without getting wet (because if they get wet, they shrink and become leprechauns). The kids form a long line of giants ready to leapfrog over the river. If they fall in the water they have to start over at the back of the line. Supply magnifying glasses to the guests and head outside to look for bugs and such. This will really let them know they are Giants in the real world to some creatures. Have fun with your “Little Giants”!

“This is your LIFE” Party!

This is Your Life!

Although this party seems only for older adults I have seen this for 13th, 16th and 21st Birthday Parties. It can also be used for honoring achievements (lifetime or not) of people both young and old. Invitations must include a couple pictures of the honored guest along with details. The highlighted area of the party will be a table with photos and mementos through the years. Make a timeline on butcher paper for the wall behind the Memorabilia table. Include world events, personal events, popular music and movies, discoveries, and photos for different years on the line. Set up a photo backdrop area for guests to get their picture taken with the honoree. To model your party after the famous 1950s television show, you will need to set up a stage area with a special seat for your guest of honor and a large curtain to hide your mystery guests. Hide your guests behind the curtain, and, if possible, have a microphone or karaoke machine set up so that everyone can hear what they will say. Then, one at a time, ask them to relate a funny story or experience that they shared with your guest of honor and let your honoree guess who is behind the curtain! As an extra touch, you might choose to softly play music while each mystery guests speak to further enhance the mood. A guaranteed tear jerker! Prepare a video montage of photos and/or video clips of your party honoree and have it playing throughout your event — If you have guests who were unable to make it to the party, you might ask them to videotape themselves giving a greeting or sharing a story or remembrance about your guest of honor to play as a “virtual visit”. At some time during your party, pass around glasses of champagne (or sparkling cider) and propose a toast to your guest of honor. The best menu choices for a This Is Your Life Party are your guest of honor’s favorite foods. Finger foods are also a good choice for a celebration because they allow your guests to mingle while grabbing a bite here and there.

Do it Yourself Tissue Pom Poms

Napkin Tissue Pom Poms

Tissue Pom Poms are a great decoration for many types of events, however, the color choice is sometimes limited. Making your own is easy and you can blend colors and/or designs. By using napkins; your selections are almost unlimited!

  1. Purchase paper napkins 2ply is easier to work with than 3ply- any color, any design – whatever will work for your party theme and color scheme. Luncheon size napkins will make a ball approximately 12″ in diameter. Beverage size napkins will make a ball approximately 5” in diameter.
  2. Open each napkin up and stack them all together. I used about 15 napkins per pom pom. I suggest at least 10-15. Remember the more sheets you use the fuller your pom pom will be.
  3. Fold them back and forth-accordion style-like you would for a fan.
  4. Use a pipe cleaner or florist wire to cinch the middle. Leave enough wire to create a small loop that you can use to thread your ribbon through to hang them.
  5. Fan each side to cut the ends to make them have a rounded or pointed finish. I chose to make them pointed for this project.
  6. Attach the ribbon you will be using for hanging.
  7. Carefully start pulling apart each layer of one half to begin fluffing that side. You will want to try and make your shape as round as possible so vary the direction you pull and fluff.
  8. Flip it over and repeat the Step 7 on the remaining folded half.
  9. Continue fluffing until you get your desired shape and look. And WHALA!  You are done!

Karaoke/Music Awards Party

Karaoke-Music Party

These party ideas can be used for a fun Karaoke party or for one on the many Music Awards Watching Parties throughout the year. This week the Country Music Awards is being held on the 14th.  This party screams glitz. If using it for a Karaoke party use the same style for a “Rock Star” theme. Gold, Black, Silver and White are good colors to decorate with. Use sequin table runners on your tables, you can find many online for as low as $10.00. Layer Plastic plates in different colors (like chargers) and make sure everyone gets a microphone favor (you can find at Windycitynovelties.com). Adorn the chairs with Vinyl Records you can find at a thrift store. Tie off with metallic ribbon to keep the glitz going. Make an impact with 3ft Helium filled balloons in the colors you have chosen. You can attach long metallic tails hanging off of them with metallic garland or make your own using Shimmer Curtains found at your local party store. You can view this video to see how to do it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGoDpXfRebQ . Add some fun party lighting you can buy or rent. Especially if it is a Karaoke party using the lights while singing makes you feel like a star! Another great addition would be a Photo Booth or Photo Area. Dig out your Halloween stash – sunglasses, feather boas and/or photos props you can find online or at your local party store. Make sure some of the lights shine in this area for amazing pics! Designate one person to take video of each guests while singing (if it is a karaoke party) and take digital photos. You can send these to the guests at a later date. Make cookies or cupcakes to match the theme, Cowboy Boots if watching the Country Music Awards. Use Guitars, Music Notes, Records and Microphones depending on the twist you have on the event. If your budget allows send your guests home with swag bags filled with a Music CD, Microphone Shaped Bottles of Bubbles and Rock Star Lollipops.

Balloon Centerpieces a great alternative!

Many events demand Centerpieces and Floral Arrangements can come at a high price. Balloons are a great, inexpensive, alternative and sometimes can meet the need even better than traditional methods. One of the most popular choices is a simple three balloon helium filled staggered arrangement on a weight. They can be used alone or in conjunction with other items matching the theme of the party. Other types of centerpieces are air-filled creations that have a topper which coincides with the theme, whether it be a kids, adult or business gathering. Air filled centerpieces can be made with a number of sized balloons, 5”, 9”, 12” and twisting balloons like the flower pictured. To make an impact in large ballrooms, single 3FT helium filled balloons can fit the bill! There are lots of You Tube videos available if you want to tackle these ideas on your own or you can give us a call and we will be happy to bring your concepts to the table! See more of our work on PJ’s Pinterest page…… https://www.pinterest.com/pjspartyrentale/