Casino Night

The first touch to have when planning a Casino night in your home is to have the right décor. Following are some very simple, and cheap ideas to add to the atmosphere when preparing for such a night!

Oversized dice: For this, all you need are Styrofoam cubes which may be bought at Hobby Lobby (normally priced around $2.50-$5) black acrylic paint, and a foam paint brush. To make: you simply paint large black circles on the Styrofoam cubes – Just as you see on the dice you play in board games. Wah-lah! You have the perfect oversized decoration to stack throughout your home and it takes very little preparation time!

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At a party such as this, the basis of the evening will be to enjoy the entities a casino provides. Great games include Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em, and Black Jack. For these games you will need to provide playing cards, and for the prizes you may purchase chocolate gold coins at any Party supplies store!

As for food and drinks, it is easy to follow the theme with food and drinks that one may get at the casino. It is even more fun to give the generic dishes names that follow the casino “feel”. Such as, Poker Chips and Salsa, Texas Hold ‘Em Tortilla Rolls, Spin-It Spinach Dip, Ceasar’s Palace Salad, Black Jack Chicken and many more! You may label each dish with playing cards on sticks by writing directly on the card the name of each food. (As seen below)

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Winning with Wine

What better way to end a stressful work/class-filled week than a Blind Wine Tasting? In order for everyone to maintain budget, have each guest bring a bottle of their favorite wine.

Preparation before the party:

Buy a couple dozen paper sacks that are large enough to fit a wine bottle in them. After doing so, number off each bag from one to however many guests or bottles of wine you may have. (Numbering too many bags is better than not numbering enough)

wine tasting

Provide simple finger foods that guests may munch on while present at your party. Any wine tasting is very laid back, so there is no need to cook excessively. Great ideas include: An assortment of cheeses and crackers (Club crackers, Ritz crackers and Triscuits topped with miniature blocks of cheese. Another great topping with the crackers and cheese are little slices of summer sausage), Spicy hummus, Cheese ball, barbecue Smokies, Pigs-N-A-Blanket, and any sweet fruit (Strawberries, pineapples, mangos, etc).

As guests arrive, begin bagging the wines into the paper sacks you have already numbered. Once your guest list is complete, the fun begins! Allow the guests to begin going from bag to bag tasting and sniffing the wines. As they do so, they will need to record the number of the bottle which they tasted from and what they think the wine is. If a guest is not aware of what the wine is specifically called, they may simply stick to whether they believe the wine is an expensive or cheap wine. (The fun isn’t in guessing each wine correctly, it’s the indulgence of yummy food and drinks with a good atmosphere.)

At the end of the night, once everyone has recorded their guesses, you will reveal what is underneath Bag #1..2..3..4..etc until you have revealed all the wines. Whomever has the most correct guesses is the winner. And what better prize at a Blind Wine Tasting than a fancy bottle of wine? The winner, and losers will all leave satisfied because no one can argue with a simple night of friends and wine.

Nothing beats the Nineties

Being born in 1991 allowed me to grow up with the best of the 90s and memories to last a lifetime. From bright-colored scrunchies (that were styled in the hair, as well as on the wrist), to pop rocks and Fun-Dip, followed by Saturdays filled with “Cat-dog” and “All That” marathons – Nothing beats the Nineties!

90s r all that                                Cat-dog

The first touch for a 90s themed party would be the outfit one chooses to wear. Growing up, I remember styling overalls, high white socks, and Keds to top it all off. Perms and Barrett’s were the absolute must for us girls, and for boys it was frosted tips or hair gelled so perfectly that it didn’t move the entire school day. However, you can take this theme a little further and dress up as your favorite TV show and movie characters. From “Recess”, “Hey Arnold!”, “Rugrats” and “Saved by the Bell” to “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”, “The Mask” or your favorite Disney movie – the options are endless!

The next touch that will be a complete sell out are some of the games you can provide at the party. Of course, it is hard to re-create the exact ways we played these games due to technology being in an entirely different universe these days. However, there are many gaming stores that still sell the classic 90s games such as Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man, Mario Cart, NFL Blitz, ATV Off-Road Fury, and the original Mortal Kombat. These games have been refurbished to be played on modern gaming systems, and are promised to create all the excitement at your party.

Lastly, the must-have finishing touches:

  1. A fun guest book –> Pages of black scrapbooking paper inside and guests sign with Milky gel roller pens.
  2. Splatter paint photo booth –> As simple as white construction paper as the backdrop and going crazy with neon paint colors in a splatter form. After dried, makes for the perfect background for your guests to stand in front of and hold up funny props!
  3. Dunkaroo funfetti dip –> Ingredients: 1 box of funfetti cake mix, 2 cups of fat-free plain yogurt, and 1 cup of lite Cool Whip. Mix the ingredients together in bowl and chill for about 4 hours, then enjoy the dip your mom never let you have with animal crackers 😉
  4. Put your favorite 90s candies in clear vases on decorative table –> Fun-Dip, Pop rocks, Push pops, Bubble Yum, Hubba Bubba, Bottle pops, Lemon heads, War heads, etc.
  5. Pop Rocks Adult Beverages –> does it get ANY better?? Several recipes may be found here!

Fang-tastic

Autumn is undoubtedly upon us. And you know what that means? Halloween is right around the corner! This is another one of my favorite party occasions, and has SO many different possibilities. Of course, it is just a given to make a Best Halloween Costume contest apart of the festivities.

halloweeen

First: It wouldn’t be Halloween without some Jack-O-Lanterns on the porch. If you have any little one’s or little cousins/siblings, this is the perfect “busy work” to give them to do and have a blast while doing it! You can buy pumpkin carving kits at Wal-Mart for very cheap. ($3-$15) Place pumpkins in arrangement on porch and if you’re feeling super festive, place a small CD player or iHome hidden behind the pumpkins and play on repeat some haunting music to give your guests a spooky welcome as they arrive! Also: another very simple and cheap decoration to have outside as your guests arrive are ghost lanterns. In order to make these come to life, all you need are plain white popcorn sacks, or white paper lunch sacks and a black sharpie. Draw whatever funny faces you want on each “ghost” (bottom of paper sack, or closed end, will be the top of the ghosts’ head, bottom needs to be the open end) and place them over the outdoor lights that align the sidewalk as approaching your home. If you do not already have outdoor lights, you can simply buy plastic candles (they look like already lit candles, but are just a lightbulb in the flame shaped topper) and place them along the walk-way up to your door step with the paper ghosts over them.

halloween lights

ABOVE: Obviously, a bit excessive on the number of lights. However, you get the idea! You can cut shapes into the bags as well to project shadows.

Next: The games to play for a Halloween party can be so fun. Along with the contest for whoever has the best costume, you can give candy bag rewards for the winners! (It seems appropriate for Halloween, right?) The first game is the Halloween Guess Who game. As the guests arrive, have a bowl filled with folded pieces of paper that have a Halloween movie, character, phrase or word listed on it. The guest must choose a piece of paper out of the bowl, and without looking at it, tape it to his/her back. (You do not have to do this immediately upon arrival, although it is a great ice breaker for a mixture of friends, it can be started at any point in the night) Once each guest has a piece of paper on their back, they must have others act out their word/words or answer the guess-er’s questions with a simple yes or no. For example: “Am I a girl?”  “Am I a movie?” “Am I dead?” “Do I have hair?” “Am I an animal?” “Was I a human at one point?” etc! Another game that will gross your willing participants out a little is the Mystery Squeel-O-Box game. In this game you prepare by simply buying plastic Tupperware, (may be bought a dollar general – 3 for $1) cutting a large hole in the lids and spray-paint the containers orange. On each container, label the contents with things like: Vampire brains, Witch fingers, Witch tongues, Monster teeth, Vampire teeth, eyeballs, and skin. Each participant must stick their hand in the containers while blindfolded and guess what it is that they are touching. (They will be guessing the actual substance, not “vampire brains” or “monster teeth”)

How to make the creepy crawlies:

  • Vampire brains: You make this one of two ways. First way, is to get a circular sponge and soak it. Once soaked, ring out a little and place in container. Second way, cook a package of spaghetti and place in container. It will begin to piece together after sitting for a while, that is perfect.
  • Witch fingers: Carrot sticks
  • Witch tongues: 1/4 of a banana. Cut the bananas in half, like a hotdog bun. Then, cut the half in half.
  • Monster teeth: Feed corn
  • Vampire teeth: Prongs broken off of plastic forks
  • Eyeballs: Peeled grapes
  • Skin: Flour tortillas with a little bit of vegetable oil spread over them. Break the tortilla into disproportioned slivers after covering in vegetable oil.

And to sum it all up, the drink of the night that is promised to be a sensation: Blood Sucking CocktailIngredients yielding 1 drink: 1 1/2 oz. Bacardi, 1/2 oz. Cointreau (or the orange-flavored liqueur of your choosing), 2 oz’s pineapple juice. After mixing above ingredients with ice, insert a plastic syringe filled with raspberry concentrate for decoration and for the guest to splash into their drink as a blast of flavor. (plastic syringes may be bought at any party store)

Fiesta Fun

Who doesn’t like Mexican food? Better yet, who doesn’t like margaritas? The next themed event chosen: Cinco de Mayo fiesta!

We will begin with the very simple (& cheap) decor that may go into a party like this..

Tissue Poms 

Table Streamers

“Dress up your drink”

Plastic Maracas

Tissue Poms and Table Garland: for both you will need select colors of tissue paper. In this case, you may want to choose generic red, yellow, green and white to keep up with the theme!

For the poms, you will need 1 package of tissue paper to make 1 pom, (each package has approximately 9 sheets of paper in it, you may mix colors if you would like) thin floral wire, as well as ribbon to hang the poms from the ceiling. First, cut a piece off of the floral wire – about a foot in length. Then take out the entire package of tissue paper (once again, approximately 9 sheets) and fold it accordion style, with your folds measuring about an inch thick. Once this is completed, you will fold your piece of floral wire over both sides of the paper and twist the ends of the wire together – like you would twist the tie on a loaf of bread. Follow this step with looping your ribbon through the wire, as it is easier to attach now to be hung, than later. Next, you must cut both ends of the tissue paper. If you want the pom to have pointed ends, you will cut the ends in a triangular fashion. If you want the pom to be completely round, you will cut the ends in a circular fashion. After doing this on both sides, you will stretch out both sides of the tissue paper – some way that you would a paper fan. When you’ve done this, all you have to do now is start carefully pulling your tissue paper layers apart in the directions you want them to face. Half will go up, the other half down to create the circle.

Blue poms

For the table garland, you need similar materials: tissue paper (how many sheets of paper is dependent upon how many garlands you would like to make, each garland takes about 2 sheets of tissue paper), floral wire, tape and a ruler. First, you will fold two pieces of tissue paper in half like a hamburger and fold it like an accordion as you did for the poms. Lay the paper flat after doing so and begin cutting strips about half-an-inch thick upwards, with the crease of the paper at the top of the paper and the open end where you begin the cut. Next, roll the paper up as you would a burrito and tape it off to allow it to stay. After doing so, you will attach the wire by taping one end to the top of the tissue paper, looping it over to create an oval (to allow the garland to be hung) and tape it on the other side as well.

garland

As for the “Dress up your Drink” materials, all you need are googily eyes, stick on mustaches and tiny plastic sombreros. All of which can be bought at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Target, etc. And the plastic maracas may be bought at any of those places, or even dollar general!

beerstache

The food chosen at a party such as this is completely up to you as the host/hostess! Enchiladas, Dirty rice, Quesadillas, Salsa, Queso, Spicy fajitas, and things along those lines are always going to be a first choice. If you are looking for more finger foods aside from salsa and queso: Mini tacos, 5-layer bean dip, Southwestern tortilla wedges and things such as this are always easy go-to’s.

Diamonds are Forever

Engagement season seems to come in hot and heavy around the conclusion of the summer, as well as the major holidays. For my cousin, Carlee Anne, she was able to celebrate around both times. Carlee and her now husband, Dalton, got engaged Christmas of 2012 and married in September of 2013. This allowed the perfect summertime bachelorette party, in which we all had a blast.

There are endless entertaining games and ideas that may go into a bachelorette party. For our wedding party, the fun began in the afternoon. All of the bridesmaids, maid of honor and bride-to-be ate lunch in downtown Tulsa at one of the brides favorite restaurants. Following this, we were all required to step out of our comfort zone a bit: a pole dancing class. Although 9 times out of 10 the wedding party will say “No” if asked if they want to attend a class such as this, it is something I would recommend for any Bridal party. The key to getting everyone to participate? Don’t ask questions. Make sure everyone keeps in the front of their mind that this party is solely for the bride and you all are there for the same reason: To celebrate the love of your friend/family and make fools of yourselves together! As we entered, our instructor popped open some champagne for us to “Cheers!” to the bride-to-be. As the class proceeded, we all loosened up a bit and just had fun with it. It’s the perfect combination of awkward, amusing, and an ab workout for all involved!

bachelorette

ABOVE: The bride-to-be with one of the bridesmaids! As you can tell, this made everyone feel a little sassy along with extremely silly.

Following the pole dancing class, we returned to the hotel to get ready for the Bridal shower and the night-out ahead of us. After everyone had gotten ready, we all joined the bride in her suite for the shower part of the night. Upon entry, there was a table for presents, and a separate table with drinks and cupcakes. We all sat in a giant circle around the room and watched as Carlee opened presents. We also indulged in a concoction made by the Maid-of-Honor: The Blushing Bride, definitely one to try!

After the Bridal shower we had a little bit of time to go around in the circle and tell our favorite memory/story each of us had with Carlee. Things like this are important in making the bride feel special and reiterate the reason why each person that is present is there. As I stated before, all of the girls attending are there for the same reason. It’s very important to make sure no one loses sight of that through the night. A girl only gets married once!!

Before departing the on the limo to begin the festivities out and about in Tulsa, we were informed of the game we were to play throughout the night. Each person was handed three cards, and was to perform at least one of the three cards. However, this wasn’t just any deck of cards. Each card had a form of a dare on it, such as, “Dance with a Cowboy”, “Switch shirts with a stranger”, “Feel on a guy’s guns or buns”, “Kiss the bartender”, “Take a picture in the Men’s restroom” and the absurd list goes on! Just as the pole dancing class pushed everyone out of their comfort zone a bit, so do games like this. Bachelorette parties are intended to be spontaneous, memorable events that cause you to do things you normally would never do otherwise. Have fun with it! Take advantage of the special events, such as this, because they aren’t parties you are able to throw every day. Just as diamonds are forever, this party should be a memory that lasts forever.

We Love Game Days!

It is the kick off to the first Sunday of NFL season games beginning.. So what do we do? Have a little gathering with all the best game day foods you can think of, of course!

Yesterday was the perfect day to enjoy lots of food, and a cold beer while watching one of America’s most loved sports: football. The preparation for such an event is simple and not very time-consuming. On the menu was mild and barbecue chicken wings, Velveeta cheese dip, home-made pizzas, frito chili pies and vegetables with ranch dip.

For our home-made pizzas, you begin with the already made, store-bought crust. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using already made, store-bought products. Especially if your time schedule doesn’t allow you for all the preparation otherwise. The crust’s we used were Boboli and are available in thin crust, or hand tossed. Atop the crust is Prego Pizza Sauce, (pictured below) mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings of your choosing. In this case, we made one pepperoni pizza, two sausage and pepperoni pizza’s and one supreme.

game day 1 game day 12

ABOVE: Pre-made pizza crust and diced onions and chives for the supreme pizza, as well as just the original pepperoni’s shown. Also pictured, the Prego pizza sauce used on all four pizza’s. BELOW: the calm before the fire, literally.

game day 3

The baking process is as simple as preheating a conventional oven to 350 degrees and allowing the pizza’s to bake for up to 15 minutes. How long you leave the pizza’s in the oven is dependent upon how crispy you want the crust. In our case, we chose to smoke the pizza’s in our smoker to add a little additional flavor. For this, you must keep an eye on the pizza’s and when all the cheese is melted and turning a little gold, they are done.

Next on the menu was a smoked fattie. This heavenly dish is sausage wrapped in bacon and stuffed like a cinnamon roll with cream cheese, onions, pepperoni and sliced jalapeno’s. To prepare something of this nature it took a little more time, but is well worth it. The fattie must be placed in the smoker until its internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Inserting a meat thermometer into the center of  the meat will provide you with an approximate temp.

game day 4game day 5

ABOVE: The process in which our food was being smoked as well as the aftermath: mouth-watering final product!

BELOW: In the process of throwing events and trying out new things, every host and/or hostess experiences a few hiccups. For us, we had some fiery issues that induced a bit too much smoke from our smoker. When encountering difficulties as a host, find a resolution or alternative means to provide the same outcome as planned. In our case, the guests were wrapped up in trash-talking each other’s teams to even take notice in the little mishap. Lol! Luckily, my dad quickly took over and manned the equipment properly.

game day 8game day 6

Continuing on, the next thing made were our wings. (mild & barbecue) For this, one must have a fryer (with peanut oil), raw chicken wings, and the sauces of your choice. (We used Ott’s original wing sauce and Head and Country’s original Bar-B-Q sauce) For preparation, flour is placed in a mixing bowl. How much flour is dependent upon how many wings you are preparing. Added into this flour is paprika and ground cayenne red pepper for a bit of spice and flavoring. Place 5-8 wings in the mixing bowl until they are completely covered in flour. Take the wings and arrange them in the fryer’s wire basket. After doing so, dip the chicken into the fryer and watch them as they cook. There is not a specific amount of time to leave the wings in the fryer, once again, it is just something you have to watch. Once the wings have a golden brown look, they are ready to be placed in the sauce of your choice. For the sauces, simply pour each one in a separate mixing bowl and lather the wings in them. Following this, place wings in a bowl to cool before consumption.

game day 9game day 11

ABOVE: From raw, to ready! The second picture displays what the wings should look like when they are done frying. The fryer is just a FARBERWARE 2.5 liter, 8 cup appliance that may be purchased at Wal-Mart.

The remainder of our food were frito chili pies, Velveeta cheese dip and vegetables with ranch dip. The frito chili pie came straight from a can and was prepared on the stove. The Velveeta cheese dip ingredients include a block of Velveeta cheese (cut into small squares), three cans of Rotel spicy diced tomatoes (two are completely emptied into the diced cheese, while the last one is simply just the drained juices inserted in) all placed in a Crock-pot and consistently stirred until the cheese is completely melted. The ranch dip is prepared with Hidden Valley packaged ranch. (Instructions on packaging)

For game days there isn’t much more for one to do as a hostess besides, provide the television that has the games on it, as well as the delicious food and cold beverages. It makes for an overall fun day and your guests leave happy!

The Tackier, The Better!

As the holiday seasons begin to arouse, one will hear of many different themed parties occurring around the neighborhood. From Autumn colors blooming, to red and green lights hanging on every house on the block, this time of the year sparks for the fun of party planning to begin! I wanted to start my blog with one of my personal favorite holiday parties: A Christmas party. When planning a Christmas party, a hostess has many options on the theme she may choose. Last December, it seemed the perfect amount of cliché and tacky to decide upon an Ugly Christmas Sweater themed party. The details that go into a themed party are very simple and those exact details are what allow your party to be precisely what you want.

First thing’s first: Creating the atmosphere. For our Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, we began with the decor around the house. As the guests walk in, they are greeted with joyful Christmas tunes and a large Christmas tree in the entryway. In correlation, we made sure to have tinsel wrapped around the banister to set the perfect scene for the photo-shoots that would occur on the staircase later that evening.

CMAS PARTY 1

ABOVE: My brother, myself, our close family friend, and my step-mom being goofy and having a blast. Best Christmas card, ever, right?

In the kitchen, dining room, and living room is where the party remained for the most part. The atmosphere there included yummy food, tasty drinks and lots of good conversation and laughter. As a hostess, it is vital to make sure the atmosphere is fun, relaxed and entertaining for ALL the guests attending. In this case, that wasn’t too difficult because the theme itself permitted plenty of entertainment. As the title of this party describes, each guest was to wear an ugly Christmas sweater. There were no guidelines other than the person who was the most creative with envisioning the ugliest/most tacky (or most amusing) Christmas sweater, would win a prize after a vote at the end of the night. Let me tell ya, there was quite the creativity!

CMAS PARTY 4

ABOVE: A couple of guests showing off their ugly (and somewhat inappropriate, lol) sweaters! The tackier, the BETTER.

BELOW: My dad (left) and another fun guest. Yes, that is an actual mini Christmas tree stuck onto the sweater.

CMAS PARTY 5

Included in the importance of a party is the food and drinks you provide. For this party, we kept it quite simple and it was a hit! With it being an adult Christmas party, we stuck with finger foods and Christmas inspired beverages. The foods included: spicy meatballs, star wontons, Christmas sugar cookies, and buffalo cheese dip. The drinks provided were an assortment of nonalcoholic beverages (Cranberry juice, Fresca, etc), and the rave of the night: Jingle Juice. (ingredients: one bottle of pink champagne, 2 cups of vodka, and 2 liter of sprite. Also, optional to add strawberry sherbet ice cream)

CMAS PARTY 3

ABOVE: This was snapped before some of the food was placed, but gives a good idea of what the decor included. You can never go wrong with snowflakes, and candy canes around Christmas!

Throughout the evening, everyone had a blast. Because of all the fun had, this will now be an annual party thrown in the Tate Household. In conclusion to the memorable party, we made sure everyone had voted for who they believed had the ugliest, most tacky or most creative sweater and counted the votes. Pictured below is the winner… I’m not sure if he won for wit, or entertainment. But no matter, it was a successful party!

christmas 7

This is the Beginning

As an introduction, this blog has been assigned to our Electronic Communications class as our first project. I have wanted to start blogging prior to enrolling in this course, but I was worried it would be difficult to keep those who follow me entangled in what I am blogging about. However, with being given the opportunity, I am excited to start this blog in hopes to spark more creativity and fun within myself when planning parties and events. I also hope that the themed events I share will inspire others for themselves! In the past, I have assisted my Step Mom, as well as my Mom, when they plan events (They both are geared to become Hostess’ of the year, basically) and as I have gotten older, I have become more involved. Being a college student, it is important to remain on budget, but be able to still make your idea come to life. Following this post will begin the adventure of entertaining, spontaneous, bright, fun-filled parties and events. In continuation with my Step Mom and Mom being inspirations to me, I have taken interest in much of Tori Spelling’s advice on party planning. This is the beginning – time to have fun.