Wednesday, April 25, 2012

7 Things to Ask Before Planning a Graduation Party

The end of another school year is upon us and you’ve got one graduating this year.  Congratulations!  Since you are so proud of your senior, of course you want to celebrate their success at achieving an education.

Twelve years of working hard has come to this one ceremony and it should be celebrated.  While there are many decisions to be made that your graduate can help with, there are a few questions that should be asked right away.  Here are some questions you can ask your teenager about how he/she would like to celebrate this milestone in their lives:
Do you want to have a graduation party or a small family dinner?
Depending on your teen’s personality, they may not want to have too much attention given to their graduation.  Perhaps a small family dinner out is more what your teen would like.  The important point is that you ask him/her before you start planning.  Remember, this is about their success, so even if you are a proud parent and want to shout it to the world, consider the type of party your graduate would like first.
Would you like a big party or a small party?
If your teen has chosen to have a party, there are many more questions that need answered.  Discuss the options, pros and cons.  Discuss a budget (or let them know of your budget for this party).  If your teen desires, go and pick out balloons and decorations together as a way to bond before the party. 
When is the party?
Picking the right date for your party will be a hard task to accomplish.  You must remember that many other graduation parties will be going on as well.  In order to accomplish getting the most people to attend, you will have to find out when the other parties will be held.  Make phone calls to the people you want to attend to find out the best time to have yours.
Who should we invite?
Getting your teen to make a list is important to your planning process and can be very hard to do.  This is a busy time and your teen may feel that this can be decided later, and then later never comes.  Explain to your senior that you need to know who he/she wants to invite before you can make party preparations.  Plus, you need to be able to give ample notice to friends and family who are traveling to celebrate this epic day.
What should the theme be?
While the obvious theme of your party is going to be a graduation, there may be other elements to consider.  What were the school's colors?  Is it a medical school, Bible school or other particular field that would lend itself to the decorations?  Is your event going to be formal or lighthearted?  Has the graduate offered any suggestions?  Once you have chosen a theme, you can then go on to choosing the decorations and refreshments.  The decoration should reflect the student's achievements and the theme.  You may want to make a display board of what the student has accomplished while in school.  Just be sure to let the student know that this is your plan.  Consider pictures through the years, but use caution with baby photos, as your young adult might find that embarrassing.
What type of menu should be served?Decide a menu of foods that will suit everyone and fit your theme.  Ask your graduate for their input on what items their friends will eat as well as your teen’s favorite.  Take into consideration all the people who will be attending.  If it is a big party, finger foods such as sandwiches and cheese trays do well.  This will also make it easier for your graduate to mingle with guests.  Will you have cake?  If so, make sure to order early and decide on a design for how you would like the cake to look.  Most cake specialists will be able to help you choose the perfect design for your graduate’s big day.
Can we combine the party with your friend’s party?
To save money this is a viable option, but your teen should be in on this decision.  Share the budget with your teen, think of different options and make this decision together.  This question should be asked right away so you have an answer in case the friend's parents ask you, especially if the two graduates are inseparable.  This may be their last big party together before going on to college.  Plus, it’s easier on guests who know both graduates.
Any party is a lot of work. Getting your teen involved will take some of the burden off of you and make things a lot easier.  Don't get so caught up in the planning that you forget the reason you are having the party in the first place.  Remember to keep your graduate as the main focus.
Don't forget to relax and enjoy the party that you worked so hard to put together and know that your graduate appreciates all you've done to make their day special.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter On A Whim

By Poppie

 I realized today that I am hosting an Easter Extravaganza in exactly 1 week at our house!  This if a challenge even for the most amazing hostess, so I wondered what I could pull out of my little bag of tricks.  I admit, I wasn’t feeling very inspired since I only have a week to plan.
What to do, what to do?  Drumming fingers, thinking, thinking…  For décor, how about a switcheroo on the old mantel, that’s always easy and fun, because it’s only been a month since I last changed it! Yeah, the mantel.  Some fresh flowers and a few flea market finds from the past, and presto, a new mantelscape (just made up this word) is on display.  Always an easy fix and the first thing my guests see as they enter.  For other simple decorations, I used the inspiration of my 3 daughters and said, “Create”.  They stepped up to the challenge and produced various decorated foam Easter eggs and crosses (because this is a significant holiday for us) to hang around the wall.  Then I saw a delightful Pinterest idea and created a cute peep show, with homemade strung peeps.  The kids had a blast with this one.
Now to tackle the menu.  Everyone gets together for this important holiday and cooks a variety of their favorites, but I had an AHA! Moment when I thought, I should make some carrot cake - with an abundance of cream cheese frosting, of course.  I made mine in the shape of an egg (naturally) and decorated with frosting in pretty pastel colors. Easy and fun and so good to eat.  We had other goodies as well, but I always think dessert first when it comes to party ideas.

Of course I painted – with special decorating techniques for speckled, stickered, and glittered eggs and stuffed (with a bucket load of candy) a gazillion Easter eggs for our annual Easter Egg Hunt.  I love watching the kids run around “finding their hidden treasures”.  Especially the little ones.  They are too cute to watch as they discover one egg (and just want the one) while the bigger kids run around grabbing all they can get their hands on.

I needed a few extra (and quick) items to compliment my egg-cellent choices so far.  I wondered down to Nobbies and grabbed Easter baskets and a few more Easter supplies that I would need to complete my party area.  They had everything I need to fill my baskets with toys and goodies, grab all my table supplies, and get every in-between item I made need.  I didn’t even have to stop anywhere else, which is convenient when you only have a week to plan things.

This has actually been one of the easiest Easter Parties I have ever pulled off. Note to self – plan a week ahead only!  I hope that your Easter plans go as smooth and you have an (wait for it) Egg-cellent time Easter weekend celebrating with family and friends.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Nobbies Bridal Fair

It’s that time of year again.  Spring is in the air and thousands of newly engaged bride-to-be’s are in need of help planning their upcoming nuptials. Luckily, Nobbies comes to the rescue just in time with our Annual Bridal Fair on SATURDAY, MARCH 25 FROM 11am - 3 pm.

Be one of the first 100 brides to arrive and you'll be eligible to receive a key to open the TREASURE CHEST...If you hold the key that opens it, you'll win a prize valued at $500...exclusively for brides!

This is also your chance to check out Nobbies wedding selection of all things bridal...from bridal shower and bachelorette party supplies to wedding and reception supplies.  We offer the best supplies and newest trends to help you plan for even the smallest details of your wedding.­ Our fully trained staff is here to help you put all the pieces together for the most spectacular wedding ever!

In addition to the supplies we offer, we have a number of custom services as well...banners, centerpieces, imprinted napkins, and our expansive selection of invitations – always 25% off every day prices!  We also offer various colorful arrangements of balloon bouquets and arches.  Plus...this is the ONLY day you'll receive a discount on your entire purchase (some restrictions apply).
You will also get to meet and greet some of the area’s best wedding planning vendors.  Planning a wedding is hard work, but with our expansive list of vendors helping you along the way, it will be a piece of cake!  Did we mention the cake vendors?

So come join us on Saturday March 25th from 11-3 for an amazing wedding extravaganza!

See a full list of vendors for both Omaha and Clive here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2012 Wedding Vendors List


Jone-Z Party Bus

Alotta Brownies

The Party Zone

Global Gatherings

All Tracks Music DJ Service

Say Cheez

One Drake Place

Omaha Wedding Video

Lesley Knox Photography

Simply Elegant Cakes

Bel-Air Banquet Room

Omaha Rental Service

Tip Top Tux



Blank Park Zoo                     
Bridal Connection                                
Cake Me I’m Yours         
Chase Suite Hotel              
Contemporary Catering                               
Felix and Oscar’s West                  
Funky Zebra                                      
Gateway Market                             
Happy Apple Celebrations          
Italian Villages                                  
Joe’s Photobooth                           
Jonathan May Professional Magician     
Knight-Life Entertainment          
Mary Kay                            
My Buddy Jimmy            
No OrdinaryWrapper                    
Pampered Chef                               
Plaza Florist                       
PR PartyLines/Absolute Transportation                

Stam Chocolaterie          
Travel and Transport     
University Photography               
Vision of Beauty              
Windsor Heights Community & Events Center   

Windsor Heights Hy-Vee                    

First Top 10 Things To Do After You Get Engaged

Congratulations!  You’re getting married!  You're about to embark on two exhilarating adventures - the first is beginning  your life journey with your groom and the second is the exciting, yet often overwhelming, process of planning a wedding.  A wedding will probably be the biggest and most elaborate party or ritual either of you have ever put together.

Before you start to panic, take a deep breath, relax, then do these ten things:

1.       Start your wedding guest list.  And stay on top of it.  Knowing the numbers of who will be attending is important for your budget, especially if you have family members helping pay for some of it.  You don’t want to surprise dad with a guest list of 300 when he was planning for 50.  Nor do you want to try to squeeze 300 guests into a venue such as a lighthouse.  Decide whether you want just close family or whether you’d love to have all your friends and family involved in your big day.
2.       Have a budget.  Don’t start picking out flowers or dresses or reception halls without knowing what your bottom line is and who is paying for what.  This is the most important factor to keep in mind throughout your entire planning process.  In the end, dollars, not dreams, are a main determining factor for the size and style of your wedding. 
3.       Pick a date.  Sounds simple, but picking a date during peak wedding season will be more expensive and add to your overall budget.  However, picking one off season may have unfavorable weather.   The same is true for times and days of the week as well.  A Sunday brunch is much cheaper and more laid back than a Saturday extravaganza.
4.       Purchase a wedding planning book. Good ones have a section for budgeting and checklists, and a timeline or calendar for appointments as well as sections for each stag e of the wedding and reception.  Keep you book in a prominent place so that you can add to it as needed while making important arrangements.
5.       Purchase a Journal If You Don't Already Have One.  There will be ten thousand moments you won't want to forget, as well as some extremely frustrating times that you'll need to vent about, and not necessarily to your partner. The journal you keep while you plan your wedding will not only help you through these good and bad times, but it will be something you cherish for the rest of your life. If you're internet savvy kinds of folks, you may also consider doing this journaling online with your own blog or starting a wedding Pinterest account to pin your favorite pictures to.
6.       Plan an engagement party or don’t.  Another party on top of everything else?  Don’t stress.  Make this party simple.  You really just want to be able to share this exciting time in your life with others.  So if this is too much with everything else you have to worry about, nix the party.  No one said you have to add more stress to your life or extra money to your budget.  However, this is a great way for future in laws to meet.
7.       Stop the Insanity.  Family members are the first ones to start asking a million questions the moment you tell them the good news.  They also want to offer all their advice (and expect you to follow it).  Sound familiar?  It's easy to let people stress you out during the "newly engaged" phase.  Don't let them.  If people keep pressuring you about the date, don't be intimidated. Instead, say, “Once we come off cloud nine, you'll be the first to know the wedding date.”  Whatever you do, don't miss the chance to bask in your new status and enjoy those first few weeks free from planning pressure.
8.       Envision your style. Your wedding style will be reflected first and foremost in the location, whether it's a luxurious ballroom, a beach getaway, or an intimate backyard reception.  Your color choice will also play an important role.  Do you want bright bold hues or soft pastels?  Also, keep in mind your religious and ethnic backgrounds as you start to plan. Talk with your groom about both your styles and backgrounds and which styles you could implement together.
    9.       Include your Groom.  Sure he might not care about the little details of whether the flowers should be peonies or petunias, but he may want a say in what type of wedding to have, where it should be held, and who to invite.  Once the main decisions are made, don’t feel offended if he decides to let you have control of the rest of the details.  Still, keep him in the loop of where you are at in wedding planning.  Also, let him know up front that his main job will be to listen to you vent about wedding planning.
   10.   Plan the Invitations.  Lots of brides like putting this off until later in the planning process, however, the sooner you pick your overall style of wedding, the sooner you should find invitations to match.  Of course, we recommend starting you quest for the best invites at Nobbies, where invitations start at 25% off every day!

The moral of this engaging story?  Treasure engagement bliss and revel in your excitement -- you'll have plenty of arrangement headaches to worry about later.  From announcing your engagement to narrowing the guest list, we’ve made it easy to figure out what you should do first.  The most important thing is to enjoy the journey because your engagement will be over before you know it (even if right now it seems like your wedding day is a million years away!)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

St Patrick's Day Party Ideas

Throwing a St. Patrick's Day Party means going green.  St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and free spirited celebration for everyone, whether you belong to the Irish community or you just enjoy the spirit of this Irish-themed holiday.  Since, everybody's Irish on St. Paddy's Day, it’s a great reason to throw a party for family and good friends!

Invitations:  St Patrick’s Day is just around the corner so get your invites out now.  Keep it simple with a shamrock shaped invitation.  Cut the shape out of green card stock paper; use a pencil to trace the outline of a shamrock cookie cutter and cut along the line. Write the party greeting on one side of the shamrock and add the date, location and time details on the opposite side.  Use this little rhyme as a party greeting:

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
And may that road be the one to our house
For a party to celebrate St. Pat's!

Come join the shenanigans and share the green beer
It's a Saint Patrick's Day Party and we want you here!

Our Irish eyes will be smiling if you join us at our St. Patrick's Day celebration!

Be sure to add “Wear green!” on the invites.

Attire:  Of course, green is the way to go with your St. Patrick's Day gear.  Lads and lassies alike can get into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day by breaking out all their green clothing, pinning on a "Kiss Me, I’m Irish" button and topping it all off with a green leprechaun's hat.  If you’re really audacious, try adding some shamrock tattoos in various places and show guests your green.

Décor:  Start your St. Paddy’s Day decorating with green streamers in various shades to set the mood.  Go all out with a string of green lights (get out your Christmas lights) and shamrock-shaped helium balloons strategically placed around the festivities.  Put up green cutouts of shamrocks and leprechauns on the walls and in the windows.  Suspend lanterns in a rainbow pattern around your party area.  Add Lucky Charms cereal for festive table confetti.  Fill bowls or vases with them to dress up your party.

Ambience:  Put on a CD of traditional Irish songs and print out the lyrics for your guests so they can croon along to classics like "Danny Boy."  Hand out paper and pens and give your guests five minutes to write a limerick, and then read them aloud in your best Irish accents.  If you're the adventurous type, send your guests on a treasure hunt for a leprechaun's pot of gold.  Before guests arrive, hide your treasure (gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins) around the party area, then have guests search for it throughout the party.

Favors:  Hand out “Kiss Me, I’m Irish!” buttons or party beads to your guests to wear during the course of the party.  As they leave, hand out little pots of gold (goodluck coins, small treats, and a some party beads in a little pot).

Menu:  Get out your green food coloring; you'll need it to dye everything from mashed potatoes to beer.  Serve beer in mini mugs or green koozies.   In addition to green-colored treats, serve traditional Irish favorites like corned beef and cabbage and lots of potatoes; perfect for this lucky holiday.  For  a sweet snack, try a rainbow cake (recipe here) and add chocolate gold coins around the cake.

Rainbow Cake Recipe


·         Vegetable shortening
·         2 boxes of white cake mix
·         2 cans buttercream frosting
·         Six 9-inch round cake pans
·         Food coloring in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple


1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush six 9-inch cake pans with shortening.  Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside.
2.      In a large bowl, mix cake mix according to directions.
3.      Divide batter evenly between six medium bowls.  Add drops of each color of food coloring to each bowl, stirring, until desired shade is reached.
4.      Transfer each color to an individual cake pan.  Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
5.      Remove cakes from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto a wire rack; re-invert and let cool completely.
6.      Using a serrated knife or cake leveler, trim tops of cakes to make level.  Place the purple layer cake on a plate.  Spread ½ cup buttercream on top.  Repeat process with rest of colored layers.
7.      Place the remaining red layer on top, bottom side up.  Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush.  Cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting.  Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. 
8.      Using a spatula, cover cake again with remaining frosting. 
9.      Decorate cake and enjoy.