Party Planning 101

Once you have a child, you can expect to have a house full of people every year for their birthday.

Here are a few of the things that I have learned that make party planning a whole lot easier.

Here are a few of the items I know I will always need to put on my shopping list:


  • Paper Plates
  • Plastic Silverware
  • Plastic Cups
  • Table Cloths


  • Food (see ideas below)
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Alcoholic Beverage
  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Condiments


  • Game / Cards

Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned over the years:

  • You can always put out more food but you can’t always save extras that sat out all day
  • If you have helpers, assign everyone a job for the day as soon as they get there so that you don’t have to keep reminding people what you need help with throughout the day  (greeter, filling up empty food dishes, emptying the garbage, writing down who gave each gift)

I have come to find, that when it comes to the food that is provided at parties people love variety. Here are a few of my favorite party menu themes:

Cheese Burger Bar

  • Beverage: Milkshakes in Mason Jars
  • Items in Bar: Burger Toppings (relish, mustard, mayo, pickles, fried eggs, onion straws)
  • Side Dish: Season your own French Fries
  • Decor: Cookout/Grilling, red and white table cloths, baskets instead of plates)

Sundae Bar

  • Beverage: Soda (of Juice) in Tall Ice Cream Glasses with Red and White Striped Straws
  • Items in Bar: Multiple Flavors of Ice Cream, Sprinkles, Waffle and Cake Cones, Fudges, Syrups and Sauces, Marshmallows, Fruit and Candy.
  • Side Dish: Small Sandwiches
  • Decor: This could go two different directions
    • Option A: Sprinkle Theme – Bright Colors and “Sweet” Quotes
    • Option B: 50’s Sock Hop / Retro
  • Notes: I avoid inclusion of Peanuts unless you are certain all of your guests are positive they don’t have allergies.

Taco Bar

  • Beverage: Margaritas (or beverages in Margarita glasses)
  • Items in Bar:  Meat/Seafood, Salsas,
  • Side Dish: Chips and Salsa
  • Decor: I like to go with bright fun colors (orange, red, yellow) and white table cloths.
  • Notes: If you are putting out a variety of salsa flavors, make sure to label them so everyone knows what to expect.

Cookie Exchange

  • Beverage: Milk in Mugs
  • Items in Bar: Cookies from each participant (for the tasting contest of course)
  • Side Dish: Chicken Noodle Soup in Mugs
  • Decor: Think simple and romantic. You should feel like it’s the night before Christmas. Excited but SO comfortable.
  • Notes: Tell everyone to wear their pajamas (assuming that’s appropriate for the crowd).

What are some of your favorite tips, tricks and tasty treats?

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Hi, I’m so excited your here! My name is Amanda. Welcome to my blog Dishes and Denim! Writing is my outlet. It grounds me. So, I decided to start a blog where I can share my life with you! I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. My son Bradley was born April 1st, 2018. He is my entire world. Simple is my specialty. I don’t have a lot of extra time and the time I do have I want to spend with my family. I love cooking, cleaning, photography, writing, sewing and running. Maintaining an organized and clutter-free home is a priority. I have a mild obsession with buying photography props, notebooks, coffee mugs, and pens. If there was an award for overanalyzing – I would win every year. I’m a hopeless romantic. My favorite color is turquoise. My perfect day includes waking up to a clean house and having a Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte and fresh fruit waiting for me…followed by a long hot shower then bumming around town in comfy jeans and a perfectly fitting white tee and my denim jacket (taking pictures and visiting antique shops). For dinner, I would request a cheeseburger (red onions, pickle, and ketchup) with a side salad (Balsamic, no tomatoes) Then end the day relaxing on my patio with twinkle lights, a glass of Entwine Cabernet and my family (bonus points for a campfire and S’mores). If you want to know more about me you can either invite me out for a glass of red wine or check out some of my blog posts!

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