Couples Valentines Day Party

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I love a good party, a time to fellowship with friends or family.  If you are looking for something special to do with your small group, bible study group, or even just your close group of friends (or relatives), consider hosting a small Valentines Party!

If you are on a budget this can seem like a daunting task, but I assure you that there are ways to make it happen even on small budget.    This year won’t be our first party, and what I have learned is to start small and build each year.  To begin this year’s planning process, I start with an inventory of what I already have.  Figure out what I need to buy, and finally I consider what things I would like to add to our inventory.

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Our first party consisted of chairs scattered about, a fun game, and desserts.  We started the party a bit later in the evening, allowing the couples to head out for a nice dinner and join us for dessert a little later.  This year, we’ve planned a full meal.  This meant I was going to need more table setting decor and less room decor.

In order to keep the decorations & supplies affordable I shop at:

  • The Dollar Tree
  • Target (in the $1-$3 bins)
  • Oriental Trading

Also, because I know we will have future parties, I like to shop after Valentines Day for upcoming year’s decor additions.

To keep my sanity in order, when it comes to the food:

  • Some items are homemade
  • Some items are store bought & altered
  • Some items are purchased from local bakeries and restaurants.

Another option is to find a local caterer who will handle all the food preparation for you, and it isn’t as expensive as you would think.  If you have a mom friend who loves to cook (and is great at it), you could hire her to do the catering too.  This can turn into a blessing for the both of you.

I don’t like to plan a party that makes me crazy, I like to plan a party I can enjoy from beginning to end.

This year, I also partnered with Family Christian in order to showcase some of their great Valentines Day related items.

I even scored a GREAT deal when I found a slightly banged up lighted sign from Christmas, which actually fit our party decor!

A Good Party Starts with a Great Invitation

Since our party is for couples, I was only sending 1 invitation for every 2 physical guests.  I decided that it made more sense to hand make an invitation versus order something printed online.

I printed the party invitation on white paper, in red ink.  At Target, I purchased a book of stickers, 1 package of square doilies, and a package of cards with matching envelopes.  I used a glue stick and stamps I already had on hand.  For just $3.00 in supplies, I was able to hand craft eight invitations.

A Good Party Captures Memories

At our first party, I built a “Kissing Booth” and put together a few photo props.  At one point in the evening we took several photos of each couple.  After the party, I took those photos and made photo strips out of them (like you would receive in a photo booth in a mall or theme park).  This year I, I decided to go with a theme more akin to a Valentines Dance.    I purchased props from The Dollar Tree, Target, and even made a large polaroid frame by hand.  Oriental Trading had inexpensive silver foil drapes and an awesome valentines border.  I paired this with strung felt hearts I had on hand from a previous party. 

A Good Party Is a Lot of Fun

Besides capturing memories with the photo booth, we also have a lot of fun by playing games.  A group favorite is the not so newly wed game, where we all answer questions about our spouses.  Dry erase boards and markers can be purchased at most Dollar Tree stores.   I found a great set of cards with questions at Home Goods.  This year I added in Couples Mad Libs (I loved playing these as a kid), which will be scattered about our dining table to use throughout the evening.  I’m also working on a Jenga Truth or Dare Game I found on Pinterest!  If you are going to have games, you must have prizes.  I drove to a nearby Family Christian store and picked up a few home decor items and a set of Mr. & Mrs. Coffee Mugs.  We also have a couples gift exchange!  I found the cute gift bags at the Dollar Tree. 

A Good Party Has Good Food

With the internet we have access to websites that can help us plan out a great menu.  This year I am planning a Pear and Asiago Salad, Chicken and Artichoke Pasta with Grilled Asparagus, Fresh Bread, and for dessert Red Velvet Cake.  In previous years, I have leaned toward desserts only which included cupcakes, cheesecake, chocolate covered pretzels, and even cake pops.  Websites like Pinterest make it a lot easier to not only find recipes, but also themed food ideas too.  You can even find a full planning page on how to throw your own party from start to finish.  I like to mix it up, coming up with an idea that is totally my own.

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Since this year we decided to have a sit down meal, instead of desserts or finger foods, table decor was added to our supplies this year.   Many components of the decor were diy projects that used inexpensive items like doilies, ribbons, and candles with holders from the dollar tree.  I did invest in a few nicer silk peony flowers, I wanted to ensure they would last through the years.  We added in faux flower petals, table scatter, and a cute runner from Target.  But, my absolute favorite are the milk bottles!  Not only are they cute and perfect for holding our Love Potion Punch, but when we dual purposed them as place cards!

I paired up decorative Valentines paper plates, which are more than enough for the salad with a heartier piece of china for the main dish.  Cute napkins, matching plastic ware for utensils, and disposable cups make for easy clean up.

A Good Party Doesn’t End

Predating our Valentines Day party, our good friends have a Christmas Party each year.  Truth is, we all enjoy spending time together but it gets hard with kids and life in general.  That was when the Valentines Party was born, we didn’t want the party to end.  At the end of the Christmas Party our hosts always sent us home with a great little favor bag.  We decided to do the same.  Our favor bags are little mini date night bags, something the couple can use at home to keep the romance going.

The gift bags and tags are from Target, as well as the candies and the tropical scented candles.  I ordered some mini bath salts from one of my favorite Bath and Body companies, Jordan Essentials.  As a fan of the show Shark Tank, I remembered the episode with the Kisstixx (two lip balms, one for him and one for her, that compliment each other).   From Home Goods, I added in the card game for couples, and finally added a CD of long songs from the local Family Christian store.

I must admit, most favor bags are not quite as generous.  When Family Christian was looking for a  way to promote their Valentines products, and I had already been working with them for book reviews, I jumped at the chance!  So, a big thanks to Family Christian for providing the prizes and CDs for the favor bags! 

I have a big heart for couples continue to build their relationships over time, we need to support strong and health marriages.   To give back to other couples, just as others have blessed us is a great thing. 

Official Family Christian Blogger

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Easter Inspiration

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I don’t know about you, but I have a really bad habit of scrambling for Easter Baskets.  We adhere to a strict budget in home (a’la #DaveRamsey ).  When there was just one child, Easter was great.  I would buy up things in the months leading up to it, wrapped in special paper, hidden along with eggs.  So very #MarthaStewart.

Our first hiccup, is that every 4 years our eldest daughter’s #birthday is the same week as #Easter.  That will pinch the budget, quite a bit.  Then we had our second daughter, who miraculously shares that same birthday.  So now, we had 2 kids to Easter shop for, and every 4 years … 2 kids birthdays to shop for.  Double pinch.  It would come to an arch with the birth of our 3rd daughter, who doesn’t share the same birthday, but is still another person to shop for on Easter.  Not to mention by the time she came along, Easter baskets for my eldest were starting to get a big pricier.

The funny thing about all this #budget complaining?  I know #DaveRamsey would say “You know it comes every year, why don’t you plan for it?”  And, he’s right.  My girls birthdays fall the same day, every year.  With or without Easter.  And Easter, is conveniently on the calendar.  It’s not a surprise, it’s just not planned very well.  My fault, entirely.

2015 brought a particularly tight budget, though.  Not only did we have the year of the Birthday/Easter week, but for my eldest it was a milestone birthday.  Sweet Sixteen.   This year, however, I had my #DaveRamsey cap on.  I was determined to plan, and plan early.  I was determined to stay within my budget.  I was also determined to interject more #Jesus, less candy.

I know that it’s too late Easter 2015, dear readers.  But, you can start planning early for Easter 2016.  Here is a break down of this years baskets.  I hope it is a bit of inspiration.   (And no, I didn’t get any discounts or freebies from these companies.  LOL.  Not sponsored ads, just idea sharing).

candyThis is a 3.75 lb. bag of Palmer Easter candies.  They call it the “Egg Hunt Mix“, and it was perfect.  A little bit of everything.  1 price, 1 bag.   I grabbed my bag at BJ’s.  #Palmer candies are one of my personal favorites.  I’m partial to their peanut butter cups because the peanut butter is smooth and creamy vs. grainy like other brands.

I divided the bag of candy up by 4, because mom needs here share.  I plead the 5th as to whether or not those were “equal shares”.

For my 8 and 12 year old daughters, their baskets were virtually identical.  I headed over to #OrientalTrading and wanted the best value for my dollar.  I went with:

ebfiller  This Easter Basket Filler Assortment was a perfect solution, it had quite a variety and divided up perfectly.  You should be aware that you won’t get everything in the picture.   I did get most of what you see in the picture.  The blow up bunnies were my personal favorite.  The foam airplanes were the kids.    Most of the variety was just 2-4 pieces of that particular item, but there were a couple of things I got a ton of.  I held onto the extras & I am saving them for next year.  #BudgetWin   I also made the choice to inflate the bunnies and built the planes vs. putting the diy kit in there.

supertoy  I also selected the Super Toy Assortment.  On this one, there were definitely differences from the photo.  I pulled the whistles out, because that was one thing our household didn’t need.  I am going to donate them to a local rape crisis center, or place that offers women’s self defense training.    Despite the differences #OrientalTrading still provided a great assortment, with small numbers of each type of toy.

lamby  I purchased one these adorable I Love Jesus Sheep for each of the 3 girls, because who doesn’t love a sweet cuddly plushy?

chalk  I also selected a bucket of chalk and these cute bags carrotbag to wrap up some of the smaller items in.   The carrot bags do not come with any ties, so you will need to pick up some ribbon.  #OrientalTrading came through this year, for sure.  Plus I had a free shipping discount code.  WIN.

I then hopped on over to #FamilyChristian to grab up a few items for the individual girls.

For my 12 year old, I grabbed this great devotion bookdevotional  She’s growing up, and it was time to upgrade her from her “Action Bible“.  She loves that bible and I highly recommend it for your younger kids (girls and boys alike).  But it was time for something more, “Middle School”.

For my  year old, who has been telling us the same jokes over and over again… and is terrible at making up her own…. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of kid friendly, clean joke books #FamilyChristian carries.

jokebook  I picked these 2, but there were many more to choose from.  eastercolor You can’t go wrong with coloring or activity books for an #EasterBasket , so I picked up this too.  It’s perfect, for 8-12 year olds.

There is another great company called #CTAInc. that I have purchased all sorts of items from to use with our #WomensMinistry .   I had never paid much attention to their kids section, but I am glad I took a peek this year.  I got these awesome eggs to put in the girls baskets!   One tells the Gospel Story through cute little egg shaped cards.  Another has a dog tag style necklace that sums up the story with easy to remember color coding.  The third has a puzzle and mini story book to seal the deal.  I chose just to get the eggs because I had other items already purchased.  But CTA Inc. had a lot of other Easter items for various ages, and some coordinated with the eggs!

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For those waiting with baited breath as to what in the world I got for my 16 year old…. that was a bit tricker.  With it being her 16th birthday, we had a BEAUTIFUL Blessings Tea at a local Tea House.  She was gifted a lot of amazing things, to put into her Hope Chest (yes, we do that thing here, LOL).  So she didn’t get a lot of typical “fun” gifts.  I mean, sure grandparents gave her spending money…. because that is what they do.  But, at her party the gifts were much more personal and sentimental.

So, I filled her basket with the plush lamb, a bit more candy than her sisters, and then went for jewelry & some cute Easter socks.  I’d like to say she loved them, but frankly at the hour her sisters got us all up… she was less than human.   She promptly went back to bed, I expect I’ll know the success of my endeavor by whether or not pictures show up on her facebook page.

Frankly, I had already failed her with opting not to dye eggs this year the traditional way.  She silently protested.  Choosing to color her eggs solid, as if to say … “this is how they should look” … while silently thinking “mom not only disappointed me with a cheesecake instead of a real birthday cake, but now she has ruined Easter too.”

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WHO DOESN’T LIKE CHEESECAKE?????   People, really.  This happened.  Pray for her.

…. and yes, that is a Candy Corn Easter Egg…..