Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The first (and possibly last) annual Fall Extravaganza!

If you saw my Instagram stories last week, you know that I was working hard on preparing everything for a fall party we were hosting at our house on Saturday. Even though I was stressed beyond belief, I was really excited for it. I invited a bunch of our family and friends who have young kids (about 14 kiddos and 25 adults attended), and I had planned games and a craft for everyone to do. It was originally scheduled for October 15, but since I went to Ohio from Oct. 9-13, we pushed it back a week to give me time to prepare.

The activities/games I had planned were (all found on Pinterest):
+  Pumpkin Chunkin' (using orange fabric-wrapped rolls of toilet paper and bushel baskets)
+  Squirt and count cup-squirting game
+  Spider races (straws and ring-less spider rings)
+  Parachute
+  Fall Jar Luminary craft
+  Punching Pumpkin
+  Donut-on-a-string donut eating contest
+  Pumpkin hat photo
+  Photo booth

Saturday, October 22 turned out to be a suuuuuper windy day, so my plans for doing the activities outside had to be tweaked and we had to find room in the basement for everything (I had to scrap the parachute and the water-squirting game, as those could only be done outside and NOT in such windy conditions). The photo booth also was a dud since it was so cold, no one went outside to put it to use!

In my head, I expected to have everything set up and be able to explain each activity to everyone shortly after the party started, then parents and their kids could explore at their leisure. In reality, I was nursing Louisa as our guests were arriving, and I was continuing to bake some pigs-in-a-blanket appetizers that took WAY longer to cook than the box indicated. I gave a quick run-down of the process for the jar luminary craft, then ran back up to get everything ready to bring dinner downstairs. Everything did NOT go according to plan, but everyone still had a great time. If anything, I did way more than was necessary--the kids had the most fun playing with Max's train table and chasing one another around the basement.

Perhaps the best part of it all was the food. The menu included:

- Pigs in a blanket
- Hummus with veggies and pita chips
- Applesauce pouches and cheese sticks (for the kids)

Main Dishes:
- Vegetarian chili (I will share the recipe later this week)
- Corn muffins
- John Legend's Macaroni and cheese (recipe and video delicious and easy to make!)
- Tater tots and chicken nuggets (for the kids)

- Apples
- Apple pie
- Cake pops
- Pumpkin pie dip with Nilla wafers
- Cupcakes
- Candy

I over-planned for dessert. The apple pie wasn't touched. I could've saved myself some work and not made cake pops, but even though they're very labor-intensive, I love making them, so I don't think I'll ever host a party without cake pops. Some families offered to bring something to share, as well, so we also had homemade jalapeno poppers, apple crisp, a honey ham, and a yummy dip served with graham crackers and apple slices (still don't know who brought that...I have your dishes!)

Overall, I'm glad I hosted this party. Victor continually asked me during the planning stages if I still wanted to do it (even as we stopped by the post office to drop the invitations in the mail), and I kept saying yes, so he got on board and picked up hay bales, decorated the yard, helped with party set up, and he was a pepper and onion chopping rockstar the morning of the party. He also had to run to he grocery store last-minute to get me diced tomatoes for the chili...they somehow didn't make it onto my grocery list on Friday!

That being said, I'm not sure I'll do it again. I never like relying on weather to cooperate for outdoor events. Perhaps we'll just get a group together and go to a local pumpkin patch instead.

Here are some photos from the day after the party, because I was so busy the day of that I didn't take photos!

Punching Pumpkin after it had been punched

The beverage bucket, for the adults

Pumpkin Chunkin'

This good! I tripled the recipe for the party.

Favorite activity

A well-loved craft table

The poorly-lit food table

Louisa's party outfit. I feel like Joanna Gaines would approve of this look.

Thankfully, our basement returned to normal on Sunday, and since most of the mess was confined downstairs, the rest of our house remained very clean! There are still 4 cake pops left, but I doubt they'll make it to the end of the day...Mama needs a sugar fix!

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