Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Favourite Things Party

Steve and I were kinda stupid and we packed, and I mean PACKED, the last 2 weeks with way too much stuff. It was super daunting (and draining) and I had a constant count down in my head (only 10 more nights of craziness and then there will be an evening of nothing). Guys...last night was the last evening of planned stuff (well...until tomorrow evening) and I am SO happy that I had planned a fun little party. It was a great way to end the busyness. It was a good busy for me.

A while back my friend over at Lovely Little Days , Marnee, posted photos on her Instagram page (you all need to follow her, she makes beautiful things!!) of a party she hosted - a Favouite Things Party. I loved the idea so much and it has been kicking around in my brain ever since I saw her photos. I finally decided to throw my own. So glad I did as it will likely be one of my highlights of 2015. I am hoping to make it an annual event. :)

There are 2 ways this party can work (that I know of); one is with a big group and the other is with a small group. I opted for having a small get together so that I would be able to socialize more with every person (plus our living room is small so a large group would be super cramped). I invited 5 girls and all of them said yes right away! Each person was asked to bring 5 identical gifts (each costing between $7-8 and I asked that there not be any food items in the gifts) and their favourite appetizer or dessert. I provided some food and drinks (and some girls also brought their favourite wine). I decorated with the Sound of Music song in mind ("brown paper packages tied up with string. These are a few of my favourite things...") and I think it all turned out well. See for yourself :)

** If you do this party with a large group each girl brings 3 identical gifts and then everyone puts their name in a bowl 3 times. For each gift set 3 names are drawn and those 3 ladies take home that gift. Each person ends up leaving with 3 gifts (but they don't all leave with all the gifts).

I purchased a white plastic table cloth (from Dollar Tree) for the food table but it was SO thin that I could see my table colour and grain through it. I was not impressed. Steve suggested I use this burlap coloured Nate Berkus table cloth (that I completely forgot I had) and it was perfect! I tried to stick with all white dishes. I had my favourite alcoholic drink (rum and coke) available, bottles of water and pink lemonade from Trader Joes. 2 girls brought wine and one of them also brought lime Perrier. 

I added burlap ribbon and white ribbon to my vases of tulips (which is one of my favourite flowers). I tried to keep with the burlap and white colour theme. (both ribbons are by Stampin' Up!)

These tags were a free printable that I found on Pinterest. Quick to cut out and then I mounted them on some craft paper (colour is actually called crumb cake) and used some linen thread (both from Stampin' Up!) to attach the tags to my gifts. 

I made this banner (super quick and easy) with just 2 12x12 pieces of crumb cake cardstock (Stampin' Up! again) and I chose a fun font and made the letters in font size 200. I printed the letters on regular printer paper, cut them out and glued them on. I folded the top of each triangle over some burlap string and then used a strong double sided adhesive tape to hold it together. I attached it to my wall using painters tape (so that I wouldn't put holes in the walls or remove any paint when pulling masking tape off) and then covered the painters tape with the balloons.


The crew of lovely ladies that I have the priviledge of being friends with! These ladies were so great to have do this party with. 

After everyone chatted and got some food we sat down and did one game. I expected this to be a fast little ice breaker but it took us a long time to get through because we love to talk!! I really enjoyed hearing everyone sharing stories about themselves and learning things that they have in common. 

I found a little "Favourite Things" questionnaire on Pinterest and changed it a bit to fit our Canadian group (it had clearly been written by someone from the Southern United States). After we each filled in the questions we went around and shared our answers. This probably took us an hour to do and there were maybe 9 questions. Hehe!! 

Finally we did our gift exchange. Each lady explained what they purchased and why. :) I will list the gifts each girl brought and the food they brought under their pic. 

Lindsay: Lush face mask (it has to stay refrigerated and only lasts a few weeks because it is made out of FRESH ingredients! So fun! There are 3-4 masks in each container she gave us and we all got a mini bar of soap from Lush, each one was a different scent. I plan to try my mask tonight. My soap scent is Cupid's Love Soap. 
She made an AMAZING chicken buffalo dip. Oh. my. word! so good!! I don't usually like spicy food but it was amazing. Even the only vegetarian at the party ate some (by accident) and loved it. hehe. she brought Scoops Tostitos with the dip and it was perfect.
Lindsay and I met in 2007 when she started working at the same elementary school as me. We quickly bonded over our love for The Bachelor/ette and our deep fear of vomit. 

Lauren: Lauren is a lover of baths and gave each lady a delicious smelling bar of soap from Chapters. It is called Cactus Verde. She said she loves the scent and because green is her favourite colour she couldn't pass up a "verde" soap. Now I want to take a bath. 
Lauren made some buns with sweet lemony cream cheese inside and then she sprinkled icing sugar on top!! Baker extrordinare.
Lauren and I met when she got stuck with me on her practicum at the elementary school I worked at. I was so happy to have someone as awesome as she is working side-by-side with me for her entire practicum. Not sure how it was decided that I should have someone shadow me but I am so thankful because Lauren is one of my dearest friends now! She was hired at the school the following school year (she actually took over with my students and I was moved to some new kids) and then after my maternity leave with Jacob ended I took her mat leave position as she had her first one almost exactly a year after I had mine.  

Megan: Her gift had some fun purple knee high socks with a chevron pattern near the top (I just got my first pair of high socks for Christmas so I was excited to add to my small collection). She also gave everyone a reusable scrub pad ("someone" threw out the pamphlet that came with it so I have no idea what the actual name for it is anymore but I do know she said they can be purchased at House of Knives) that can basically clean any surface AND you just throw it on the top rack of your dishwasher for cleaning. So convenient. We go through too many SOS pads in this house, now that can change. 
Megan brought her favourite candy - Reeses Pieces and Mini Eggs, and one of her favourite wines. :)
Megan and I are neighbours and we met one day outside when our kids were playing at our townhouse complex playground. I was pregnant with Livia (she had just had her 3rd child) and when I said I was having a girl she promptly went to her garage and brought back a few bags of baby clothes from when she had her twin girls (her 3rd is a boy). SO SWEET! How can you not be friends with someone who does that when you first meet them?!

Sam: She manages a fitness club and is covering the cost for each lady to do a drop-in session at her gym! I have been once before and it's awesome. So is Sam. She is an amazing personal trainer...she will kick your butt!
Sam and I met through my friend Amy (next picture). Amy invited me to go out for dinner with some of her friends one evening a few years ago and Sam was one of those girls! So happy to have met her and to have hung out many times sing then (and always over food or exercise). ;)

Amy: We shopped for our gifts together (it wasn't planned but we shop together a lot and when you find something you love on sale you don't pass up the opportunity to buy 5 of them!). She gave everyone an adorable brightly coloured loofah (each was a different colour) and then different scented hand sanitizers with a cute gold "happy" silicone case and chain so it can be hung in your purse, off a diaper bag or a backpack. 
She made one of my favourite desserts - chocolate covered strawberries (and she even had them on a white plate which went perfectly with my decor). Jacob requested that I save one for him so he had it with his breakfast (lucky kid!). She also brought her favourite wine (Apothic White) and the lime Perrier. 
Amy and I are also neighbours who met outside in our townhouse complex. I had heard about her a number of times from another neighbour (who was my massage therapist at the time and we became closer friends once I had Jacob) but finally put a face to the name just a few days after she gave birth to her second child, Grayson. When I saw her outside chatting with our mutual neighbour-friend with a baby carrier on I just HAD to go over and introduce myself and see that sweet boy. I gave birth to my boy just 6 weeks later. We spent our mat leaves hanging out often at each others' homes or at parks with the kids. Our children are great friends and Amy and I now spend lots of time together shopping (especially at Home Sense and Target) or going out for dinner withOUT the kids!

I gave everyone my favourite body wash from Bath & Body Works, a lead pencil (because I love all things they were in cute Kate Spade colours which I also love) and a set of magnets (another thing I seem to have an odd obsession with). I put the magnets in little polka dot paper bags and closed with with washi tape (again...I am really into stationary). 
For food I made some swedish meatballs with original Diana sauce (in my crock pot), some breaded mozzarella sticks and I threw out some raspberries, m&ms and some hazelnut wafer cookies (which I LOVE...and not a single one of the cookies were eaten...haha).