How to Make New Year’s Eve Family Night

Who is ready for 2021? Last year at this time, no one knew how 2020 would play out. The year has been full of challenges. Now, 2021 is almost here. The obstacles are still present, but hope and vision for a better year are on the horizon.

Like most of the year, staying home with your family is your plan for New Year’s Eve.  Use the evening for quality time, host a family fun night. Make ringing in 2021 a celebration for your whole family to enjoy.

Ways to Enjoy New Year’s Eve With Your Family

Your New Year’s Eve celebration does not need to be elaborate. With a little planning, you can easily turn your evening into a long-lasting memory.

Party Food

Food for your New Year’s Eve should be your family’s favorites. The holiday only comes once a year. So, time to have some fun. Do you need some food ideas? Check out the following list to help you plan for your New Year’s Eve family night.

    • Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza at parties? Order your favorite pizza. Or make homemade pizzas together to fit everyone’s exact tastes.
    • Finger Food: Make finger sandwiches. Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into fours are an excellent treat for New Year’s Eve.
    • Sweets: Serve special treats for your New Year’s Eve family night. Bake cookies, brownies, or other family favorites.
    • Celebration Cake: Buy or make a 2021 cake. The cake does not need to be fancy. A simple cake with white frosting and 2021 written in bright-colored frosting is perfect.
    • Ice Cream: Buy your favorite gallon of ice cream or two. Create a sundae bar with different topping choices, including whipped cream, syrups, nuts, candy sprinkles, marshmallows, and cherries. Allow everyone to create their own sundae masterpiece.

Drinks

Serve different family-friendly drinks for the evening activities. Of course, water should always be on the menu. But consider sparkling cider or punch for a midnight toast. Homemade hot cocoa is another delicious idea to add to the celebration.

Activities

Plan various family fun activities leading up to midnight.

  • Games: Play board or card games. Sitting together and talking is great for quality family time.
  • Video Games: Multi-player games are perfect for a New Year’s Eve family fun night.
  • Do Crafts: Make paper crowns or silly hats out of construction paper for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Create themed decorations to display.
  • Movies: Binge-watch your favorite movie or series until midnight.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Hide clues throughout your home to lead to a final treasure. Plain white envelopes work well for this activity. Place a note with enough information to lead your searchers from one clue to the next. The final treasure can be a special treat, coupons for future activities, or, depending on your children’s age, cash.

Make Unforgettable Memories

The best part about spending New Year’s Eve at home is making memories.

  • Photo Booth: Create a photo area. Use a blanket, sheet, shower curtain, or large piece of material for a backdrop. Place different props out, including hats, crowns, beads, scarves, and cardboard cut-outs. The accessories can be homemade, or go to your local dollar store to find items. Make a point to take pictures every hour leading up to midnight. The sillier the photo, the better; remember to print your photos to place into a 2021 scrapbook.
  • Time Capsule: Create a time capsule. Ask your family or friends questions. For example, what do you want to do when you grow up? The question is simple. But when opening the time capsule the following year or two, you may find the answer amusing or inspiring. Place photos, stories, or other memorabilia into your time capsule. Yes, a shoebox works as a time capsule.
  • Make Memory Cards: Index cards work well for this type of activity. Ask each of your family members to write out favorite moments in 2020. You may need to help younger children. Encourage drawing. Each card is a perfect addition to a scrapbook or photo album.

Regardless of how you celebrate, enjoy the evening with your family. You only get to ring in 2021 once in your lifetime.

Christmas Pretzel Treats

Is the hustle and bustle of the holiday season keeping you busy? Do you need a quick and easy snack for a holiday gathering or family movie night? Chocolate covered pretzel treats are a fun way to celebrate Christmas. The pretzel treats are an easy make-ahead snack.

Materials Needed:

  • Dipping chocolate (For added Christmas fun, purchase red or green colored dipping cholate)
  • Pretzels of any style will work.
  • Christmas sprinkles, marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency. Smooth, well-heated chocolate is easy to apply to pretzels.
  3. Dip pretzels in chocolate.
  4. Add sprinkles. For extra fun, allow your children to help decorate with the sprinkles. Creating their own snacks is a great way to get everyone involved.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden.
  6. You can store the pretzels in a plastic bag or airtight container.

10 Days of Harry Potter

In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the main character, Harry Potter, was born on July 31, 1980. As of this year, 2020, Harry Potter turns 40 years old. Since most people are staying close to home, celebrating 10 Days of Harry Potter is a fun way to pass the time.

Ways to Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday

Thousands of people around the globe are part of the Wizarding World fandom. Are you wondering how to celebrate the incredible Wizarding World? Check out the following ideas below:

  • Read the Books: Whether you are reading the series for the first time or the 15th, find a secluded area and immerse yourself into the Wizarding World.
  • Listen to the Audiobooks: If you are a multi-tasker, listen to the audiobooks of the Harry Potter series. The narrators do a fantastic job of making the characters come alive.
  • Watch the Movies: From watching the movies over a week to binge-watching the whole series, enjoy watching the film from the beginning. Watching the Harry Potter series is a great family night activity.
  • Play Games: Board games, video games, or made-up games can provide entertainment while celebrating Harry Potter’s birthday.
  • Do Crafts: On a rainy afternoon, do crafts inspired Harry Potter themed crafts. From drawing to sculpting, making Wizarding World crafts is a wonderful way to celebrate the “boy who lived.” (Rowling, 1998).
  • Food: As Remus Lupin’s character states, “Eat, you’ll feel better.” (Rowling, 2010). Of course, Lupin was offering chocolate after a dementor attack. But still, the idea is the same. Yorkshire Pudding, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean, Pumpkin Pasties,  and the entire Hogwarts feast are an easy inspiration for trying themed Wizarding World recipes.
  • Host a Birthday Party: With social distancing, celebrating with friends or family may be difficult. But you can still host a birthday party for Harry Potter with your immediate family. Even if your baking skills are not the best, bake a cake, like Hagrid’s. “Anyway – Harry,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here – I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.”(Rowling, 1998).
  • Photo Session: Whether you have an entire cosplay outfit or your favorite Harry Potter t-shirt, set up a photo session. Use wands and other props. Recreate scenes. Take a lot of photos, print them, and make a scrapbook.

Having fun is the best way to celebrate the wonderful fictional character, Harry Potter’s birthday.

 

References:

Rowling, J. K. (1998). Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books

Rowling, J. K. (2010). Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury

Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day at Home

Mother’s Day 2020 comes with unique circumstances. Social distancing, self-isolation guidelines, and mandatory closures prevent many annual Mother’s Day celebrations. With a little creativity, celebrating Mother’s Day at home can be fun and memorable.

Even if you are at home, you can make Mother’s Day special. Do you need a little inspiration? Check out the following ideas below:

Get Crafty With Your Kids

Go old school and make something homemade. If you have younger children, get them to help. Make a Mother’s Day gift together. Using your imagination, you can come up with all sorts of handmade arts and crafts.

  • Homemade Greeting Card: Ask younger children, “Why is mom great ____?” Then write the answer down inside the card. The simple approach to Mother’s Day can be a memorable moment for years to come.
  • Collage: Children love to be creative. Making a collage out of everyday materials is a great way to make a small gift for mom. Materials could include magazine photos, buttons, glitter (if you are brave), cloth, cotton balls, etc.
  • Drawing: A child’s picture speaks more than words. Encourage your children to make a drawing for mom.
  • Painting: Paint a picture on a poster board or canvas.
  • Button Art: Use old buttons to create a picture. You can glue the buttons in a creative design to construction paper, poster board, or canvas.
  • Homemade Wreaths: This is a perfect craft project for older children and teens. Make a quick (and safe) visit to your local dollar store. Pick up wreaths, flowers, and other little items to make a homemade wreath for Mother’s Day.
  • Decorate: Make homemade decorations to hang around the house.

Mother’s Day Meal

Eating together is one of the best ways to celebrate Mother’s Day at home.

  • Family Time: Cook a Mother’s Day meal together.
  • BBQ: Depending on where you live, consider a family BBQ on Mother’s Day.
  • Dessert: Do not forget the dessert, which can be the best part of the meal. Make cookies or a cake.
  • Take Out: Order food online for home delivery or pickup. Just remember to follow all safety guidelines.
  • Picnic: Outdoor or on the living room floor, a picnic is always a fun idea.

Movie Night

Turn Mother’s Day into a movie night by allowing her to pick the film. Eat snacks and enjoy the movie together.

Get Outdoors

Practicing social distancing spend time outdoors for Mother’s Day. Go for a walk or hike. Being together is an essential part of any celebration. Do not forget to take your favorite four-legged companion with you.

Give Her the Gift of Time

As cheesy as it may sound, some alone time may be the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Give her the extra time to read a book or indulge in a long bubble bath.

Order Flowers for Delivery

Go online and order a bouquet of flowers. Beautiful tulips, roses, daisies, and carnations are always a welcome gift for Mother’s Day.

Regardless of how you decide to spend the day, make Mother’s Day special.

Host a New Year’s Day Blessings Buffet

New Year’s Day marks a new beginning, a new year. Moving into 2020 brings a new decade. Celebrating New Year’s Day is easy with a Blessings Buffet. Basically, gather your friends and family together to wish everyone good luck, health, and fortune for the new year.

Invites

Yes, this close to New Year’s Day, you still have time to plan a blessings buffet. Simply start planning now. Send emails, messages, texts, or call your family and friends who want to come. Once you get a headcount on the number of people coming, you can start planning your menu.

Menu

The menu is entirely up to you. A buffet-style or potluck is easy to serve and maintain if guests drop in at different times on New Year’s Day.

Traditionally, certain foods represent good luck for the new year.

  • Pork: Serving pork as part of the buffet, symbolizes prosperity for the upcoming year. A pig will root forward, which is why the meat is thought to be lucky.
  • Long Noodles: Eating long noodles on New Year’s Day represents long life.
  • Cornbread: The same color as gold, cornbread represent good fortune. Many believe eating cornbread on New Year’s Day will bring extra spending money for the year.
  • Green Veggies: The same color as money in the United States, green symbolizes good luck. Serve kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, green beans, or collards.
  • Peas and Beans: Traditionally, eating lentils or black-eyed peas means luck and prosperity for the coming months. Many believe black-eyed peas resemble coins.
  • Cake: Everyone likes cake. Eating round cake or pastries on New Year’s Day represents coming full circle. In some traditions, the cake may contain coins. The person who receives the piece of New Year’s cake with the coins will have extra luck in the coming year.
  • Fruit: Eat pomegranates for good fortune and prosperity. In fact, many believe the more seeds in the pomegranate increases your luck. For those who wish to become pregnant within the year, eat figs. Figs represent fertility in the new year.

Activities

The decision to have activities is entirely up to you. For many, New Year’s Day is a time to relax and watch football. Enjoy each other’s company. Laugh about the antics from New Year’s Eve. But if you decide to host activities, consider the following.

  • Play cards
  • Play board games
  • Play multiplayer video games
  • Relax and binge-watch your favorite movie
  • Create a craft area to keep children busy

Regardless of your menu or activities, enjoy New Year’s Day with family and friends.

Hosting a Friendsgiving

The word Friendsgiving is a term to describe the combination of gathering friends and the Thanksgiving holiday. Reasons for hosting a Friendsgiving vary. Family members may not live nearby. Or you consider your friends like your family. Regardless of your reason, hosting a Friendsgiving is a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Tips for Hosting a Friendsgiving

Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to host a Friendsgiving. The basic concept is about having those you cherish around you for Thanksgiving. Your gathering can be a causal or fantastic dining experience. Here are a few tips to help you plan your Friendsgiving gathering.

Invites

Grab your favorite writing instrument to prepare a list of people to invite to your Friendsgiving. Next, use your list for sending invites. There are five basic ways to invite your friends over for a Thanksgiving meal.

  • Digital: Create a private group on Facebook to invite and discuss your plans for the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Call: If you are short on time, give everyone on your list a quick call.
  • Text: Send your invites via a text or private message.
  • Mail: Make out your invitations and send them through the mail.
  • In-person: This method is great for handing out homemade invites

Menu

After you know how many people are coming to your Friendsgiving event, you must plan a menu. There are three basic ways to prepare and serve your meal.

  • Do it Yourself: Cook and bake the entire meal yourself. The DIY approach is excellent for individuals who love to cook.
  • Pot Luck: Pot luck is a wonderful way to add variety to your meal. This option is perfect when serving a buffet-style meal. Ask people attending your Friendsgiving to bring a dish to pass. Keep a running list of dishes and desserts to ensure a wide array of food.
  • Catered: Have your Thanksgiving meal delivered. The catered approach is perfect for busy individuals.

Use the menu approach that is best for you. If needed, combine the methods to make your Friendsgiving a meal to remember. For example, you could cook the main meal but have the desserts delivered. Or one of your guests could make desserts. The choice is entirely up to you.

Activities

Yes, you may serve your food, eat, and just chill with your friends. Or you can have other activities to make your Friendsgiving fun.

  • Watch football
  • Watch a movie
  • Play board games
  • Play video games

Create a Photo Booth

Remember your Friendsgiving with pictures. Create an area in your home for a photo booth.

  • Use a backdrop (a new sheet or cloth is excellent for an instant backdrop).
  • Add props for more fun. For example, you can use a turkey hat, signs, fake mustaches, and funny sunglasses. The accessories do not have to be expensive. You can even make your own.
  • Develop a unique hashtag for your Friendsgiving.
  • Post the photos in your private group so everyone can see the results.

Whether you are only having a couple people over or an entire household, planning a Friendsgiving is a fantastic spin on the Thanksgiving holiday gathering.

 

 

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Throwing a Last Minute Halloween Party

Is the perspective Halloween forecast limiting your trick-or-treating options? Keep your children inside, throw a Halloween party. Planning an impromptu Halloween is the perfect way to celebrate on a cold, windy night. 

Tips for Last-Minute Halloween Party Planning 

The key to throwing a last-minute Halloween party is organization. Grab a tablet and begin to make plans. Do you need some help? Consider the following tips to make your party planning go smooth.

Guest List

The guest list is essential. Start by writing out a potential guest list. Begin calling, texting, or emailing the people on your list. If you are on Facebook, consider making a private group or invite page for the Halloween party. The group allows you to keep track of the number of people coming. Parents will be able to ask questions about the party. Most parents will ask what can they do to help. Do not be afraid to accept their help.  

Menu

When you get an estimate on the number of people attending, you can start food shopping. Finger food is always a party favorite. Mini sandwiches, snacks, and punch are simple treats for quick party planning. Or if your budget allows order pizzas. 

Craft Area

Set up a corner with different crafts for children to enjoy. The crafting material does not need to be elaborate or costly. 

  • Paint 
  • Paintbrushes 
  • Glue 
  • Glitter 
  • Pompons 
  • Markers 
  • Yarn
  • Googly eyes

Use small gourd-shaped pumpkins for painting. Or go to your local store to find some Halloween themed wooden cutouts. Even a posterboard can be a template for a spooky theme. Allow children to create and decorate. The party-goers will love the fact they get to take their creation home with them.

Games & Activities

Kids love to participate in fun, easy games. 

  • Long-Standing Tradition: Bobbing for apples is a Halloween tradition.
  • Ghost Toss: Make ghosts from white lunch bags.  Stuff the inside with newspaper or other lightweight material. Set up baskets to toss the ghosts in. 
  • Pumpkin Smile: Instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, play pin the smile on the pumpkin. Use large orange poster board to make a pumpkin cut out. Draw in the eyes and nose. Use yellow or black poster board to cut out mouths.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Hide Halloween themed items throughout the house. Make out clues that will lead your partygoers from one place to another. 
  • Ghost Hunt: Use tissue paper to wrap suckers in the shape of ghosts. Hide the ghosts throughout the house for your Halloween guests to find. 
  • Photo Booth or Display: Use a black sheet or other cloth to set up a photo area. Set out Halloween themed props. Designate someone at your party to be the official photographer.
  • Fear-Factor Inspired: Putting your hand in a box without knowing what is inside can be scary. Cold spaghetti noodles can pass for worms. Peeled grapes can be eyeballs. Just use your imagination. Or have some edible insects on hand for those who are brave enough to try. 

Take-Home Treat Bags 

Fill treat bags with goodies. The Halloween take-home bags do not necessarily have to be filled with just candy. Balls, fangs, spider rings, skeletons, puzzle pads, and other Halloween themed items are available. The size of the treat bags is entirely up to you. If you use the ghost toss game, the extra white bags are perfect for take-home treats. 

 

Halloween Bucket List

Halloween is just around the corner. Are you looking for something fun to do to put you in a witchy mood? Start by making a Halloween bucket list. Gather your family or friends to come up with the perfect list to make this Halloween memorable.

20 Halloween Bucket List Ideas

  1. Decorate or carve Pumpkins
  2. Eat toasted pumpkin seeds
  3. Go to a Haunted House
  4. Host a Family Movie Night (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is always a favorite).
  5. Make pumpkin bread
  6. Make ghosts out of cheesecloth
  7. Create a monster from paper mache
  8. Watch a horror movie in the dark
  9. Attend a Halloween party
  10. Host a Halloween party
  11. Go on a ghost tour
  12. Go on a haunted hayride
  13. Go through a corn maze
  14. Dance to Halloween themed music
  15. Participate or attend a Halloween costume parade
  16. Attend a Halloween themed community event
  17. Make paper bat garland to hang in the house
  18. Decorate your entryway to entice trick-or-treaters
  19. Participate in or attend a trunk or treat
  20. Either hand out candy or go trick or treating

Halloween is about having fun. Connect with your inner child. Participate in Halloween activities.

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Tips for Safe Tailgating

Today, September 7th is National Tailgating Day. Serving a meal around your vehicle at a sporting event is the primary purpose of tailgating. The fall season means football at every level. Attending a football game is a perfect chance to engage in tailgating. Remember, safety is a priority when tailgating with friends and family. 

  • Know the Rules: Before heading out to your local football field, research the rules and restrictions for tailgating. Check out the team’s website for proper protocol on tailgating. Some items may not be permitted.
  • Pack Cooler Correctly: When packing your cooler, remember to use lots of ice or cooling packs. Uncooked meat and other perishable food items need to be kept cold to avoid illness. Keeping things cold is a must. Do not leave food items out in the hot sun. 
  • Grill Responsibly: Watch your charcoal or gas grill at all times. Follow the directions. Pack the grill after cooling down. Grilling responsibly helps protect you, your friends, family, and others in the area. 
  • Know Your Limits: Tailgating is a fun, fall activity. Just remember staying out in the sun while drinking alcoholic beverages can be a bad mix. Use a highly rated sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and limit your alcoholic drinks to avoid sickness. 
  • Designate a Driver: Ask a member of your tailgating party to be the designated driver for a safe return home. 
  • Take Your Time: Allow yourself extra time to leave the parking lot. Leave early or late to avoid mass exit times. Watch for others in the parking, especially children or people who may have been drinking all day. 

With a few precautions, tailgating can be a fun-filled day at your sports stadium. 

 

4th of July Craft Table

Are you hosting a 4th of July party or BBQ? Do you want to keep the children busy? Many children love to socialize, swim, and play various outdoor activities. Others may need a quiet space to relax. Setting up a crafting table is a great way to keep children entertained during a family event. If your party experiences rain, you will be prepared.

Ideas for a 4th of July Crafting Table

Children’s imagination is limitless. Setting up a variety of options will help keep children engaged. Use the 4th of July as a theme for your art and craft activities.

Painting Fireworks

Roll out long pieces of butcher paper or set out black poster boards. Supply red, white, and blue paint to create fireworks. When painting the fireworks, offer different options. Paint brushes, straws, pipe cleaners, and sponges create unique textures. The fireworks will look unique to each child’s preference.

Paint Rocks

Rock painting is a popular craft choice. Line a table with varying sizes of rocks. Supply paints and brushes. Allow the children to create their own personal masterpieces.

Paint Clay Planters

When preparing for your party, pick up some clay planters to paint. A planter is the perfect take-home item.

Tie-Dye Shirts

Older children and adults love to tie-dye t-shirts. Ask parents to bring white shirts or supply different sizes for everyone. Use a tie-dye kit or traditional dye to make the shirts. Supply rubber bands and marbles to help create designs. The shirt may turn into a lasting memory.

Beading

Red, white, and blue pony beads are an inexpensive way to create necklaces and bracelets. Stringing the beads in a variety of designs allows each child to create a unique jewelry accessory.

Collages

Using construction paper or poster board allow children to create collages. Set out different art supplies including:

  • Red, white, and blue paint
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pom-pons
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Sequins
  • Pieces of material
  • Tissue paper

Drawing 

A craft table does not need to be elaborate for children to enjoy. Set out paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils. Children will use the materials to draw and create.

While engaging with others, a craft table is a great way for children to make art. Being able to take home a project instantly creates a memory of the event.

Happy 4th!