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Alicia here! Each month I'm going to be sharing with you an idea I have for a fun party with options to make it kid friendly or a date!
My first idea came to me as I thought of how it seems a lot of people now-a-days aren't that into Valentine's Day. I get it. So I decided to see what other holidays or events fall on February 14th. And there are quite a few.
Just to name a few:
I thought then that we could celebrate these other things instead of Valentine's and it's a win-win-win!
I have decided to focus on a few of these events/holidays for the party. This won't be a typical UnValentine's Day Party, because instead of being full of things like broken hearts, Valentine's just gets ignored altogether. I guess it's more of a "It's More Than Just Valentine's Day Party."
First you'll need invitations. I have designed these ones for the occasion, but you could make your own too! Make sure to let us know if you do.
Food: Inspiration, Oregon and Arizona statehood, National Ferris Wheel Day and ET Culture Day.
From Arizona we have two famous foods that are so easy to put together: Sonoran Hot Dogs, and Cheese Crisp.
I suggest a Sonoran Hot Dog Bar if you want to serve dinner at your party (or lunch). If you're unfamiliar with what a Sonoran Hotdog is, this article in Boston Magazine explains it well. If you don't want to serve dinner and just have appetizers, try making these into bites with tomatillo dipping sauce.
A Cheese Crisp is a tortilla with cheese. (But wait, isn't that a quesadilla? No cheese crisps are open faced and quesadillas are folded over). Make mini ones by using a round cookie cutter to cut out small rounds out of regular flour tortillas (or just buy little flour tortillas). Lay them on a foil covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle each tortilla with cheese, and bake at 350 until the cheese has melted. Alternatively, Just make a large Cheese Crisp and cut it into triangles with your pizza cutter. You could add toppings as Gaby did over at Tasty Kitchen. Look how delicious her's are!
From Oregon, I thought we would try making quick and easy Voodoo Donuts. If you live close to VooDoo Donuts, it might be worth just buying them to have at your party. Click through the gallery to get instructions and ideas for what I did!
Another famous food from Oregon is Tillamook Cheese. I have two options to include this. One is to just have little cubes cut up and out for people to eat. Or use it as the cheese for the Cheese Crisp!
You could put the cheese or other snacks in cups on a Ferris wheel. Like this one they made over at Oh Happy Day! Or they have this cool one on amazon that you can buy. I attempted to make one. Mine does actually spin, but is still a prototype.
For drinks a bit of ET Punch seems to be in order. Just mix Sprite, green sherbet, green Hawaiian Punch and pineapple juice together to taste. For an added flair try floating a UFO in the punch. They have these cool UFO ice molds on amazon.
Inspired by YouTube, International Book Giving Day, & the "Pale Blue Dot" photo
Used Book White Elephant- Everyone brings a book they love to exchange. Set a limit on how much guests can spend so there's no disparity and hurt feelings. Browsing used book stores is one of my favorite activities, but if you don't have any good one's near by, Amazon has a ton.
Pale Blue Darts- If you don't know what the picture of "Pale Blue Dot" is, this page from NASA can fill you in. I love space so I had to include this. My idea is that you have the photo up on a dart board and see how close people can get to hitting Earth. Each person can have their own dart picture or everyone can use the same. I made a dart board with the picture as the background. Click below to get the image. If you need a dart board, my brother used to have a dart board similar to this one and it was pretty fun! Or for a safer route there are magnetic dart boards.
Viral Video Charades- A nod to YouTube, this game will be loads of fun. Especially with the right group of people, Charades is a great party game. Maybe I'm biased because I LOVED Charades growing up (so much so that I got Guestures one year for Christmas and forced my family to play it every chance I got). But this version each team puts the title or description of their favorite viral videos in a 'hat' (container, bag, whatevs). Play continues like normal. Just think wouldn't it be hilarious to see your friends act out Charlie Bit Me, Gangham Style, or Potter Puppet Pals?
Decorations- Inspiration from Oregon and Arizona Statehood, International Book Giving Day, & National Ferris Wheel Day
Here's a general list of the party supplies:
One of the great things about living in Arizona is that in the winter is that we can take day trips to see the beautiful landscape of our state without being hindered by extreme weather or excessive cold. Sure, you have to be a little cautious about what the weather will be like in the high country. (We once had a slippery ride getting away from a snow trip to Flagstaff!) But, for the most part, the weather in Arizona during the winter makes being outdoors and sight-seeing fabulous!
While my daughter and her family were here for the holidays, we realized that her husband, Adrian, hadn't really seen much of the sights of Arizona. He was interested in seeing the red rocks he had heard about. So, we planned a day trip to Sedona.
Sedona is an easy trip from Phoenix. It only takes about
1 and 1/2 hours to get there. We didn't even get away from the house until around 10:30, because who wants to get up early during the holidays? You take the I-17 up to the turn off to Sedona which is exit 298 onto highway 179. You follow a beautiful scenic drive that leads to the city that many find mystical and inspiring because of the gorgeous red rock formations. My daughter, the geology fanatic, loves the striations of layers in the rocks and the formations from erosion. It is all fascinating.
We went up to The Chapel of the Holy Cross, which has the most beautiful vistas of the red rock formations the and valley below. It is a historic site in Sedona and always very busy. It is worth the trouble of finding a place to park because of the gorgeous views. Here is a slideshow of our visit.
From here, you can take the road into Sedona and then continue on 89A through Oak Creek Canyon all of the way to Flagstaff. That is a beautiful trip. In the Summer, Oak Creek Canyon is a great place to go because of Slide Rock! Slide Rock is a State Park with a natural waterslide/swimming area among the red rocks that is so much fun! In the Fall, the colors of the changing leaves in Oak Creek are magical.
In our case, we decided to go back the way we came to one of our favorite spots for a picnic. If you turn right instead of left off of the I17 at the Sedona exit, you follow a road to Wet Beaver Creek. This is one of the rare creeks in Arizona that flows all year. It is a little oasis in the middle of the high desert. There is a great swimming hole that is deep enough to jump into from the red rock ledge. It can be very crowded on summer weekends. We like to plan to go on a weekday. It is worth it to take a vacation day from work. The water is always cold and it always takes me forever to get used to it, but it is a nice relief from our summer heat. Of course, we weren't going swimming on this trip. We were just using the day use picnic site to eat sandwiches, to stretch our legs and to give our grandson some time out of the carseat. Here is another slideshow.
While we were out, we decided to go to another great destination that is only around 1 and 1/2 from Phoenix as well, and that is Prescott, AZ. Heading south on the I17 from Wet Beaver Creek, you exit onto the 169 W. and then take the 69 to drive through Prescott Valley and into Prescott. Prescott is known as Arizona's Christmas Town. The best place to start your visit in Prescott is at the Courthouse in the center of town. There is almost always something going on there. We have found craft shows and art shows there at various times and during the holidays there are beautiful decorations all around it.
It did rain on us a little in Prescott, but it just added to the holiday feel. When you leave the city, to return to Phoenix, you stay on the 69 and join the I17 at Cordes Junction.
We didn't spend a lot of money on this trip either. Just gas money and for a few drinks and snacks. We packed our picnic lunch from holiday leftovers. After seeing all three places, we were back home by 8:00 pm. It is great to take these frugal, memory making trips! If you live in Phoenix, or come for a visit, give these places a try. You won't regret it!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to seven so far. I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Read more about us here!
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