My birthday was last week. If you know me even a little, you know that I love planning parties. It started with Lindsay's 1st birthday when I planned a Noah's ark party for 75 people!
I have blogged about parties that I planned in the past year. I did a zoo party for Gibson, a Tangled party for Lindsay and a Kung Fu Panda party for Ethan (which I never blogged about- sorry!).
My friends have allowed me to plan their kid's parties, so I was able to do a Goodnight Moon party , another Tangled party and a Polar Express party.
I was looking at ideas on Pinterest prior to my birthday and I saw an idea for a Favorite Things party. The idea looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to plan my own birthday party and have a Favorite Things party!
There are so many things that I love to do and favorites that I have. In addition to planning parties, I love to get to know other women.
This party exceeded my expectations! I am a pastor's wife, so one of my goals with this party was to invite all of the women in our church and to make sure that everyone felt included. We have a small church, so this was a possibility. But when 35 women came for a sit down meal, I was amazed!
So what is a favorite things party?
The great thing about this type of party is that it will be unique to you and to your guests. I love to read and I love books, so the decorations reflected this.
I made paper chains and snowflakes out of book pages. Before you get squeamish, my fellow book lovers!, the snowflakes were from a book that I would never read (there ARE some of those out there!) and the chain was from a duplicate of The Scarlet Pimpernel- one of my favorite books that I already have- and this particular one was already falling apart!
I decided to do a sit down meal (much to my husband's chagrin!), so there were four different tables/eating areas. I used books and candles for the centerpieces.
I made lasagna and friends brought salad and bread. I have some amazing friends who served everyone buffet style (and then did all of my dishes!!!).
My Favorite Lasagna Recipe
1 pound ground beef, ground turkey or sausage, cooked
2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu, but I have big plans to can my own, just like my mama used to do!)
9 lasagna noodles (cooked and dried on a towel- keeps the lasagna from being soupy)
Cheese mixture- one container of cottage cheese mixed with one egg and oregano. Add 2 cups of shredded mozzarella
Assembling the lasagna- Mix sauce with meat (and preferably simmer for awhile). Spoon a portion of the sauce into the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. Lay down three lasagna noodles. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining sauce over cheese. Lay down three more noodles, top with remaining cheese and 1/2 of the remaining sauce. Top with the last 3 noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Bake for 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Let settle for about 15 minutes and enjoy!
After dinner, all 36 ladies gathered in my living and dining room and we attempted to get into a boot like shape for my favorite part of the evening. All of my guests brought a gift- one of their favorite things- that cost less than $10. Everyone grabbed their favorite thing and found a seat. I was the only one who knew everybody in the room, so we went around and everyone introduced themselves. Then they explained what they brought and why it was a favorite.
I absolutely LOVED this! We laughed at all of the candles and chocolate choices. There were also several books and one woman crocheted socks (I was a little bummed that I didn't end up with that gift!). There were lotions and Smash books. Art supplies and containers. Nuts and Auntie Anne's pretzel mix.
Women shared stories of their lives- why a certain gift was meaningful. There was a lot of laughter and a greater sense of community. New connections were made- like the moms who have daughters that were born 5 days apart last Fall. And the women that live on the same street, but didn't know it.
After everyone had shared, I shared one of my favorite things that I have loved since I was a little girl. I wrote a Mad Lib and had the ladies help me fill it in! This particular one was about my life, so after my friends shared their brilliant responses (I am an ugly and smelly friend and I married my husband 82 years after meeting him!), I read the story. Every time that I said "she", "her" or girl, they had to pass their gift one to the left.
They told me later that they would just be peeking into a bag and would have to pass it on or they would get something that they really wanted only to see it go to the next lady. When the story ended, I gave them the opportunity to exchange gifts. It was sweet and satisfying!
Then we had dessert! Instead of making cupcakes (which I enjoy, but I am not great at, so if they don't turn out, I feel stressed!), I decided to do an icecream sundae bar. And I made brownies and chocolate chip cookies!
I also bought a bag of my favorite Jelly Belly's- Juicy Pear- and then received another bag in the mail from my sister. She knows me well!
My purpose in doing the party was to get women together and enjoy one another (totally succeeded!), but my sweet friends spoiled me with gifts and cards and lots of love. One friend brought me this beautiful bouquet of roses...
On my actual birthday, my dear husband took me out for an exceptional dinner and a movie. I love my man!
On the night of the party, he took our three precious kids to the mall (did I mention that I love him?!) and my kids bought me a gift. It is a gift that Lindsay has been wanting to buy for me for four years! We were at the Disney store in NYC, four years ago and I saw a stuffed Eeyore. I made the offhand comment that I had always wanted it. She has not forgotten.
My husband and my kids came home as the party was ending and gave me this...
It was so sweet to see the excitement of my kids as they gave me something that they knew I would love! I have snuggled with Eeyore every night since.
And that is what a Favorite Things party is all about! Learning about others. Appreciating the things that others find important. And leaving with a greater love for others.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and plan a Favorite Things Party!!!!