Have a Card Making Party

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Have you made your holiday cards yet?  I’m sure most of your friends haven’t either!  So while everyone is having their own holiday themed party why don’t you get your friends together for a card making party?

Send out some invitations and let everyone know that you can provide all of your friends with the materials they need to make their own cards:

  • Card Stock Paper
  • Glue
  • Fun Scissors
  • Markers
  • Possibly rubber stamps and Ink
  • Stickers
  • Foam
  • Ink
  • Pens

If your friends would like they could bring their own photo’s to add to their cards for their family and friends.  The PAPER SOURCE has some great suggestions on how to make cards and some great ideas. If those don’t meet your fancy than make sure to check out MARTHA STEWART’S  collection!

The White Elephant Gift Exchange Party

Invitation to a White Elephant Party

What is a White Elephant Party you may ask? Well do you have a group of friends all wishing to exchange gifts but aren’t interested in the usual secret santa? If you do then this gift exchange is for you!  If this game seems familiar to you it may be because it also goes by a few other names such as; Yankee Swap, Black Santa, Chinese Gift Exchange, Dirty Santa, Naughty Santa, Thieving Secret Santa, Parcel Pass, Christmas Swap Thing, Greedfest, or Pollyanna.

There are two different ways to play, the naughty way or the nice way…

In both versions gifts are typically inexpensive, humorous items or used items from home. The term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance costs exceed its usefulness.

Naughty White Elephant Exchange:

To keep with the spirit of the White Elephant the gifts are often gifts the participants have received previously as presents but do not want.  If you are going to play the naughty way you will find used items you don’t want from around your home or something that may embarrass someone to receive.

Nice White Elephant Exchange: 

In the nice version of the White Elephant Exchange you actually may go out and purchase an item or give something that you don’t have a use for from around the house, but the gift is actually something someone would appreciate and you usually set a cap of $10-$15 dollars.

HOW TO PLAY:

  • Each participant supplies one wrapped gift. Participants determine in what order they will take turns choosing gifts drawing from a hat of numbers, alphabetically, by age, etc.
  • The first person opens a wrapped gift and the turn ends. The second person gets the choice of “stealing” any unwrapped item or choosing a wrapped one from the gift pile.
  • If the second person steals the gift from the first person, then the first person can choose a replacement gift from the pile of wrapped presents.
  • No immediate steal-backs are allowed.
  • Stealing back a gift that was once in your possession must wait at least one-turn removed before stealing it back.
  • On the third person’s turn they can then steal an unwrapped item or choose a wrapped one.
  • If an item is stolen from you, you can steal a gift from someone else, or open an unwrapped one.
  • A gift cannot be stolen more than once in a turn.
  • Turns continue until everyone has a gift.
  • At the end of the last turn, the first person, who had no choice of stealing at the beginning, can choose to “exchange” any gift with any player.

Here are some extra variations of the game: 

Since the process of stealing can prolong the game and can give distinct disadvantages to certain places in the order of play, different variations have arisen.

  • To speed up gameplay, there is often a certain number of steals allowed per turn. For example, after the third gift on a turn is stolen, the fourth player may be required to open a wrapped gift. An exception may be made for the last round (after all gifts have been opened), allowing an infinite amount of swapping (see below).
  • A certain gift may be particularly sought after, prolonging the game (almost indefinitely). To address this, a common variation states that after a gift has been stolen a certain number of times (usually 3) it is “frozen” (or “dead” or “safe”) and cannot be stolen again.
  • Another popular variant no longer places a limit on the number of times a gift can be stolen, but instead limits the number of times a person can be stolen from. Once the person reaches that number, the last gift they choose is automatically frozen to them. The frozen person can no longer be stolen from or steal from anyone else. The gifts themselves can circulate as often as possible unless frozen to someone, however a person can not steal back the gift that was just taken from them.
  • Since the first player is the only one without the option of seeing any unwrapped gifts, some variations allow this player to take one final turn after all gifts have been opened and swap with any “unfrozen” gift.
  • One variation (usually only for games with serious gifts) is to mark gifts as suitable for males, females, or to both, to guide people into selecting a more appropriate gift.
  • Another variation is to leave all the gifts wrapped until the end. Stealing is still allowed (up to a pre-defined number of times) but must be done while the gifts are still wrapped. In this case, there is no stealing after the wrapping comes off.
  • One variation states that the gifts must not be purchased but, rather, the items must be things found lying around the house or the garage – things that are valuable (not garbage) but for which the owner has found no use.
  • Another option is to keep the gifts anonymous. In this case, standard-sized boxes may be used, or gifts may at least be wrapped inside-out (the white portion of wrapping paper showing) in order to help maintain the anonymity.

 

‘Twas the Day before Thanksgiving

‘Twas the Day before Thanksgiving,

and all through the towns,

Everyone was bustling,

even the clowns.

If you aren’t one of the millions traveling today then you are probably hosting the Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night.  Are you ready for all of the company of friends and family that will be coming over tomorrow?  Avoid the stress and get it all done today.  If you’re not ready yet here is a last minute check list to get you set and ready to go!

DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING CHECKLIST: 

  • Buy any last minuet food items most especially the perishable foods like salad greens that go bad quickly.  Or that turkey if you haven’t already, and many of you haven’t because you just don’t have room in the fridge to store it!
  • Finish up all your pies and deserts because: a.) they can be stored at room temperature instead of in the fridge so they don’t get soggy plus the added bonus of extra fridge storing space for everything else you’re cooking! (unless they’re custard-based, such as pumpkin pie, which should be refrigerated) and b.) now you wont have to worry about it tomorrow!
  • Prepare any side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, that can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.
  • Finish up all your crafting today so that you can set your table with your linens, serving dishes, centerpieces, and place settings that you’ve been working so hard on.  That way as soon as any guests enter early in the morning to help you with the cooking your table will already look amazing and you don’t need to worry about it!
  • During the night you can begin to defrost anything you prepared early for the big meal.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for the big day tomorrow and make a timeline. Preparing a set schedule for all of the meal requirements  allows you to get organized today so you will have more time to do the entertaining tomorrow.

Good luck! Tomorrow is the big show and you should now be ready to go! Just remember if everything doesn’t go as planned; your centerpieces aren’t perfect or you burn the turkey.  What ever happens just remember that’s not what’s important, on this holiday take time out to remember what is!

Thankful Cards

Thanksgiving is just a week away, do you know what you’re thankful for this year?  At my Thanksgiving table every year it is a rush to be the first one that says “we are thankful that we could all be here together”, and then everyone else is unprepared for what they will say. I don’t know if your family also has this tradition of going around the table and having each person say what they are thankful for or not, but this year why not do something different?

What do you do all Thanksgiving day? There are tons of great annual activities: turkey trot races, local football games, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, family board games, tossing the football around outside, and so many other activities I am sure everyone does on top of cooking the big meal. But here is an idea of another activity you can add to the mix for your Dinner Party!

THANKFUL CARDS:

Create cards with what ever materials you have around the house.  If you aren’t extremely crafty who cares for this activity it’s the message that counts.  Fold up printer paper and draw a little doodle on the front of the card if you don’t have a stock pile of scrap booking paper, glue, and markers. Or you can even print some cards out using your computer and printer.  The point is, on the front of the cards write thank you, or giving thanks, etc.  On the inside write a heartfelt message to someone that you are thankful is in your life or for something they have done to help you out recently.  Make the message what ever you want, but take some time out during the day to really give thanks to some people in your life who have made a difference and than you are thankful for.  Then later on when you go around the table during dinner you can share what you wrote with your family and friends.  It doesn’t matter if the card recipients are there at that table with you or if you’ll be sending it in the mail later, everyone will appreciate what you are thankful for.  Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on those we are thankful to have in our lives for so many, many reasons.

Joys of the Potluck Brunch

Now lets face it everyone loves a good brunch!  The mimosa’s, bloody mary’s, the delicious food, and the great company!  But, for all my fellow young professionals out there, brunch is EXPENSIVE! Going out in general is expensive, but going out for one of those unlimited brunches is just to much! On the flip side if you want to have all of your friends over for brunch can also be very expensive and time consuming.  It takes a lot of time to make a large selection of items for your guests.

Hence the potluck brunch!

This weekend we had our usual potluck board game brunch with a group of our friends.  This event rotates from house to house and we try to have it at least once a month; but, our busy schedules do tend to get the best of us all. Thankfully we were only missing one member of the board game brunch crew this weekend when we gathered together.

In my most recent post I showed you all the goodie bags I made for the guests for this special occasion but now it’s time to talk food!  Rotating houses and everyone chipping in on bringing a dish really does cut down on the costs of hosting an affair like this one.  Plus you get the added bonus of trying all of your friends creations.

Another bonus of having our brunch be centered around the board game theme is that you are all ready set with activities for your guests when they arrive.  You will eat and then play a board game or two with everyone for a relaxing day of fun, food, and friends! This weeks board game was Clue and while we played I threw on the film for added fun!

All of the delicious creations from this weeks brunch are featured here in this post! We had a large selection this week from Greek Yogurt, to apple coffee cake, to pumpkin cinnamon rolls to the bacon egg and toast cups… Now this isn’t a cooking blog so I’m not going to give you all the recipes but I can always help you find out the recipe if you ask!

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