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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And I Thought I'd Never Plan Another Party...

After spending the last year and a half planning our wedding, I thought I would never plan another party again. Boy was I wrong! DH and I moved to a new apartment less than two months after getting married, which leaves me with another party to plan. Housewarmings have never gone over well with our friends and family, garnering minimal attendance and leaving us with massive amounts of uneaten food. This time seems to be different since people keep asking us when the party is and the questions started well before we even moved! So despite my reluctance to take up the mantel of party planner once again, I began to make plans. It was during this pre-planning stage that I remembered my promise to DH to give him a "second birthday" since his is close to a major holiday and is often overlooked. And with that flash of insight I began to plan my first double party.

Given the size of our respective families and the number of friends we know would like to join us, we're going to end up hosting a split party in which the older family members will be invited for an early dinner or late lunch and the friends or younger family members will be invited to stay later and have a slightly more "raucous" party. I've seen this model at work time and again, and it never fails to please all the guests.

But knowing the form your party will take is only half the battle. For a while I had no idea of what to serve, what theme to use, or how to mesh together a birthday and a housewarming party. Thankfully inspiration struck once again, this time in the form of cupcake papers.
Purchased at separate times, these cupcake papers provided the catalyst needed to fill in the details of this party. Anyone who has attended a potluck party with me can tell you that I usually bring two things: River Dip and cupcakes. I will give a recipe for River Dip at the end of the post, because the important thing here is the cupcakes. Almost always made from scratch and usually boasting unusual flavors such as chocolate raspberry and margarita lime, my cupcakes are voted the best by most people who try them. And it's not just the cupcakes that are homemade; I've become a whiz at cream cheese frosting over the last year or so.

Knowing that, it shouldn't surprise you that cupcakes became the focus around which I built the details of my party planning. Using construction paper left over from our wedding I'm going to make double-sided cards, one side of which is flowery and feminine (the housewarming) and the other will be more masculine (DH's birthday). A cupcake stamp purchased on sale from Michael's a few months back will serve to dress up napkins left over from the reception as well as the housewarming side of the cards. Instead of a cake we will have two collections of cupcakes, each topped with letters spelling out what they're celebrating. Decorations will be flowers and pictures of DH and I, particularly the ones used as the guest book at our reception.

The one detail I haven't worked out is food. I've never hosted a food-based party before other than my wedding, preferring either potluck style or appetizer buffets. DH will have the final say in what food we make and I have a feeling that the bread maker and slow cooker we got as wedding gifts are going to be getting a lot of use. I might even be able to convince him we need a little grill on the back patio for brats and burgers!

As always, posting these ideas has helped to generate new ones and I can only hope that I have helped to inspire someone else in turn.

And now for that recipe:
River Dip
1 box cream cheese
1 jar salsa
1 bag of corn chips

Place the block of cream cheese on a medium sized plate and pour as much salsa over the top as you like. Serve with chips and enjoy!

Thursday's post will be on the baby booties I've knit up for a friend of mine as well as the antiquated practice of creating a Hope Chest that has become a small obsession of mine in recent years.


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