Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#TuesdayTen: 10 Things I Can't Live Without

We survived our snow day here in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley! Some places got 2-3 inches, some got more, and some got none at all. Gotta love these mountains!

This week's #TuesdayTen prompt is about ten things you can't live without. I was planning on vlogging my answer anyway, but then we had snow and Lisa pointed out that gave me more time to get it done. I'm not sure if that was meant to be a challenge, but I took it as one. So now I present to you:

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

The Teacher Wife
We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
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The Liebers

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hosting a House Party, Part Two: Food and Fun

Last week I mentioned that I'm hosting a house party soon. I decided to run a blog series on how to host a party, partly because I thought it would be interesting and helpful for someone else, but also partly because it would help me to be accountable!  If you missed it, you should go check out the first part:

Hosting a House Party, Part One: Deciding to go for It

Today we discuss what to do once you've decided to have a party. At my house, the first thing you do is panic! "What have I done!??!" Now I have sufficient motivation to get started on the rest of the list. 

First and foremost you have decide how this party is going to play out. You need to

Cover the 5 W's

When making a plan I like to cover the 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When, and Why
  • Who is coming to your party? Family? Friends? Co-workers? Kids? This makes a difference in the rest of the plans. I'll assume you don't serve wine and cheese at a 5-year old's birthday party or plan fun foam craft projects for your girl friends.
  • What kind of party is this? Kid's birthday party? Family get together? Girls' Night? Tupperware demo?
  • Where will the party be? You've got to think about how many people are coming and what you'll be doing. More space is always better when kids are involved. If you're having tea with a few close friends, your living room should suffice.
  • When is your party? What time of day? How long will is last? As a side note, I always like to be very clear when I tell people times that I also tell them about food. I've been to a 3:00 party that had a meal served and I wasn't expecting it. I've also been to a 12:30 party that only served cake, and my kids were hungry because I thought there would be food there.
  • Why are you having a get together? Is it a birthday? People should know whether presents are welcome or not. Is it a pool party? People might like to bring swimsuits. If it's a home show party people will want to be prepared to possibly spend money. In my opinion, it's always best to be up front with all those details so people know what to expect. Don't make the other person feel awkward in having to ask.

Plan food

When and where you plan to party will have some bearing on this. Not all parties require elaborate food, but again, it is nice to let your party-goers know what to expect. Once my brother and sister-in-law were late to a birthday party of mine because they'd stopped to get food. When they showed up, we were all eating lunch! 

The time of day plays a large role in what kinds of food you have. Generally, if your party is close to meal time, your guests will expect a meal. It doesn't have to be a sit down, plated meal, though. You can have a buffet or heavy hors d'oeuvres. Pizza and chips can be a suitable offering if that fits the style of your party. Try to take into consideration people's allergies or food preferences. If you know you've got a vegetarian coming, aim for a non-meat protein. If someone has peanut allergies, nix the PBJs and peanut butter cookies.

Potluck is also an option, but be sure to make that clear on the invitation. Potlucks are good for close friends or family, but they don't fit every situation.

How do you know how much food to make? That's a tough question! Honestly, I say a little prayer over my food and we've always had a "loaves and fishes" miracle. I plan for more than we'll need in the hopes that we'll have leftovers. This weekend, for example, I have a party on Saturday and then whatever is leftover will make for a nice Super Bowl party for our family.

Invite Guests

Again, invitations can be as fancy or informal as you want. Minted, Vista Print, Shutterfly, Zazzle and a whole host of other places will help you create printed invitations you can send through the mail. Of course, you can always call people on the phone or text them. I like a good old fashioned Facebook invitation myself! As a party-goer it reminds me that something is coming up and as a host, it's a fast way to get a head count.

For big events, it's good to invite people a month ahead of time. That gives out of town friends and family enough time to make travel arrangements. It's also customary to ask people to RSVP, but not everyone does. I'm sure you've all heard about the mom who invoiced a boy's family for not attending the birthday party they RSVPed to. I honestly side mostly with the family sending the invoice on this one. People need a head count for events and when you say you're coming, they count on you coming!

Whether or not you have people RSVP, though, you'll want to remind and check up on people about a week out. That's when you'd be making your final plans and purchasing food. 

Party, Party, Party!

It's time for your party and people are on their way over! Once you've got your food set out and decorations taken care of, it's time to put on your hostess hat and enjoy yourself. Things will likely not happen the way you expect them to. That's life! Just roll with it. If you have on your happy face, it is doubtful that people will notice that cobweb you just spotted in the corner or the burnt edges on your Quiche. For the love of Pete, don't go around pointing these things out to people!! Relax and enjoy! The hard work comes after everyone leaves and you've got cleanup to take care of!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Share

Something really funny happened last night as Ken and I were getting ready for bed. We laughed for about ten minutes and then we settled down. As I snuggled up close to him, I leaned over and whispered, "This is gonna make a great story for my blog!" and then we both dissolved into giggles again.

Except it's not really going to make a great story here. Mainly because I'm not going to share it. It was a private giggle and it's best left there. Please don't think I'm being a tease about it. I only mention it to point out that what you see here is only a small cross section of what goes on at my house and in my life.

There are lots of things I don't share on my blog. I don't have written criteria for how that works. I play it by ear and trust my heart. For the most part, what I share here is 95% about me. I share stories about my kids, but only in ways that I don't see having negative repercussions later. Ken is a much more private person, so I rarely share stories about him. That's the way he prefers it and I respect that. Those aren't my stories to tell.

I do share about myself though. I share about my struggles with faith. I share about my messy house. I share my trials and triumphs as a parent. My main goal in all of it? To be a 100% real person. I may not share all the bad, but I've never tried to make my life look better than it is. I hope to give an honest reflection of working motherhood and the life I lead. And I hope that helps other women, moms in particular, feel good about their own lives too.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you; encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Waves of Love {Book Review}

Sage is feeling old and stuck. She's not had good luck in the relationship department and she's had to set aside her original plans in order to come home and run the family bookstore.

Derek is young and fancy-free. He's living the good life, writing books about surfing and having his publishers pay for a new beach front location every year.

Sage agrees to let him do a book talk in her store. Derek promises to teach Sage how to surf. They come from two very different worlds and have a ten year age difference, but they find that they each have something the other needs.

Waves of love is a contemporary romance novella set in Florida, by author Lori Ann Mitchell. The characters are realistic, easy to understand people. It is the first in a series, but stands on its own well. There are two slightly graphic love scenes I'll mention, just in case that's not your cup of tea.

This book was good for a quick read. I enjoyed the storyline and the way in which the characters interacted. It's interesting to see the role reversal, with the woman being much older than the man. I can't say that this relationship will last forever, but I think they'll both have a good time together for as long as it lasts.

If you'd like to purchase the book it is available on Amazon.

I received this ebook in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation. All opinions are my own.
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