How to throw a Party!

So many graduations! We have had and have the privilege of raising our 3 children along with our 5 nieces & nephews. (See previous blog for that story!) We have watched 7 of our children walk down the graduation aisle. But with graduation comes the Graduation Party, right? I have put together quite a few parties in the last 6 years. So I thought I would share with you some highlights and ideas for your next party.

I like to have the graduate pick a theme. Two of my boys knew exactly what they wanted to do for their parties, but it was a little more of challenge with the other children.

What to think about when you are organizing your party:

  1. Theme
  2. Location
  3. Food
  4. Dessert
  5. Entertainment/Music/Visual
  6. Decorations
  7. Guest list

My first child’s graduation party was a “Pool Party”, this pool party was in Oregon, and if you live in Oregon you know how unpredictable the weather is. You can count on rain, but sun is another story. So we delayed his party until August hoping for a warm party. We rented out a local community pool, and we decided on a potluck style dinner. All our friends pitched in and brought a dish. My husband set up a screen and projector to show our sons “through the years” video I created. For every graduate I create a video highlighting them from birth to the present time. We had some speakers for the video and to listen to music. I bought a bunch of waterproof disposable cameras for the guests to have fun taking photos. It was a little bit on the cold side that day but the pool was heated and the kids had a blast.

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Our second son graduated in Arizona and chose skating as his theme. We rented out a local skating rink. The rink provided pizza & drinks. Dessert was Sprinkles Cupcakes at the request of our son. It was a very easy party to host and a lot of fun for everyone.

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The last three parties we have hosted, have been at our home. Our niece wanted a “Pool Party”.   We dressed up the yard with tiki torches and some twinkle lights on the fence. The boys put up a volleyball net on the grass. We used the screen and projector for her video of course and we used it to watch a movie later in the evening. We BBQ’ed hamburgers & hotdogs and she requested “Nothing Bundt Cakes” for dessert. I have found that with all the other food I have to make and the party prep that getting dessert from somewhere else is not such a bad idea. 🙂

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We had a year break then my daughter and nephew graduated together. After much discussion they decided on a “Carnival” theme party. A couple friends really helped me pull this one off. We made carnival games, rented a dunk tank, popcorn and cotton candy machines. We found a great idea on pinterest for a Italian soda bar. This party had everything! Our second son dressed as a clown until he was dunked in the dunk tank! We created a photo booth, had a yummy candy table and of course we had dessert and this time it was Sprinkles again. Do you see a theme here? We decorated with the Carnival theme everywhere as you will see in the pictures below. This party was definitely the most work but it was well worth it!

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Whew! That was a lot of work and now we are to the year 2015. “Hawaiian”  was the theme for our newest graduate. We went all out for this one too. Hawaiian decorations, photo booth, candy table, pulled pork on Hawaiian rolls along with a lot of other food. Dessert was “Nothing Bundt Cake”! You can see all the decor in the pictures below. It was again a fun party filled with family and friends.

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Whew, that was a lot of work and fun! We have one more child to go, but I get a 4 year break before we plan her graduation. I hope this gives you some fun ideas for your next party.

“Darling, it wouldn’t be a party without you.”
~ Unknown


“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

Elbert Hubbard


Who is a true friend? A friend is not just an acquaintance. We may have many acquaintances—neighbors, colleagues, and people we meet now and again. A friend is a friend you can rely on, you connect with, and someone you are comfortable sharing your feelings with, someone who is a loving listener.

 Good friends are good for your health!

Friends through the years

True friendship requires an investment of time, energy, and emotional commitment. It is an honor to be someone’s friend. Friendship brings privileges, but it also involves responsibilities. Friendship takes effort, but that effort is well worth the enjoyment and comfort you gain from a good friend. It involves give and take. At times you are the one giving support and at other times you are the one receiving it. Those times are part of what strengthens the friendship bond.

A good friend is someone who no matter how long it’s been since you have seen her, you are able to pick up as if no time has gone by at all. I feel very fortunate to have friends like that.

Friends traveling together
Friends long distance

A close friend doesn’t always have to be someone outside your family, it could be a sister, a brother, cousin etc… We don’t always find this friend in our teen years, most women I know have found as we have aged and our lives have changed, our values are different and we have matured into the person we are today, this is when we have found our true friendships. Most definitely your mate should be your closest friend!

Siblings are friends!
siblings II
Siblings 🙂
Cousins are friends!
Girlfriends & Cousins!

Here are 8 points I think are important in a true friend:

  • Improve your mood: Friends boost your happiness, happiness is infectious and spending time with positive people can elevate your mood.
  • Help reach goals: Friends can help you when you’re trying to get fit, write your first book, learn a new language, etc… Encouragement from your friend will boost your willpower and increase your chance of success.
  • Decrease your stress and depression: Friendship can reduce isolation and loneliness. It increases your sense of belonging, improves your self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Communication: Having good communication with our friends is a must. Having friends to turn to for company and support as we age and go through the heartache of losing a loved one is vital.
  • Be real: You can laugh or cry, act silly or serious, with a real friend you will feel the warmth of that connection. Friends will speak from the heart without fear of being belittled or having their confidences betrayed.
  • Forgiveness: We all make mistakes and might hurt the ones we love. A real friend can forgive the mistake when one is truly sorry. A real friend will reach out to you.
  • Loyalty: Loyalty is vital for friendship. True friends don’t gossip about each other, they have your back. You feel safe with those friends.
  • Celebrate: Real friends celebrate your victories with you. They cheer you on and want what is best for you. They are genuinely happy for you.

What do you look for in a friend, what’s important to you?

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

Helen Keller