DIY Hidden Tablecloth Weight

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Hidden Tablecloth Weights - DIY tablecloth weights painted the color of your tablecloth weight SweetLaneEvents.com

Tablecloth weights are a necessity for outdoor parties and events. Last thing you want is your tablecloth blowing up and landing in your artichoke dip. Windy or not a gust of wind can come out of nowhere and really cause havoc on your party. There are a tone of cute tablecloth weights you can buy in home good stores or online but the problem for me with those is they are too cute. I really don’t want my tablecloth weights to be even noticeable nor a cute little ornament hanging off the table. Plus when it comes to spending money for a party, tablecloth weights wouldn’t be high on the list for me. I would much rather spend my money on something that makes a bigger statement, like flowers.

These simple hidden tablecloth weights are make out of washers and magnets. Paint the washer the color of your tablecloth and the magnet hides behind the back of the tablecloth, therefore you have an hidden or camouflaged tablecloth weight.

Hidden Tablecloth Weights - supplies need to make your own tablecloth invisible weight - SweetLaneEvents.com

Supplies:

 Hidden Tablecloth Weights - Layout the 1/2" washers with the blank side up- SweetLaneEvents.com

Set up your paint area in a well ventilated area. I like to set down freezer paper because it has a glossy side so it doesn’t stick but just newspaper will work too. 

Layout the 1/2″ washers with the blank side up. Spray the top and sides of the washers. One coat was enough but add a second coat if needed.

Hidden Tablecloth Weights - Allow them to dry for at least 2 hours before moving. Then a total of 24 hours before using or stacking them- SweetLaneEvents.com

Allow them to dry for at least 2 hours before moving. Then a total of 24 hours before using or stacking them. The first batch I made, I stacked them too soon and they stuck together, making them difficult to pull apart and it pulled off some of the paint.

At each corner of the table, place the washer on the front side of the tablecloth - SweetLaneEvents.com Hidden Tablecloth Weights - attach the magnet to the back side of the tableclot - SweetLaneEvents.com

At each corner of the table, place the washer on the front side of the tablecloth and attach the magnet to the back side of the tablecloth. You end up with the tablecloth sandwiched between the washer and the magnet. A hidden tablecloth weight.

Repeat on each corner or four sides of a round tablecloth. You can add more along the sides as needed.

Hidden Tablecloth Weights - I hope these help at your next party and provide some weight to your tablecloths - SweetLaneEvents.com

I hope these hidden tablecloth weights help at your next party and provide some weight to your tablecloths!   


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission if you make a purchase.   If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link.  The price of the item is the same for you whether it is an affiliate link or not, and using affiliate links helps me to maintain this website and support myself.

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party

Celebrated my aunt’s 60th birthday at an her favorite Asian buffet restaurant.  She used to participate in battle reenactments and growing up my other aunt remembers her playing with GI Joes instead of barbie dolls.    So a army camouflage birthday party theme was a little out of my realm but it turned out to be so fun!  

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - simple way to bring your party to a restaurant SweetLaneEvents.com

One thing when celebrating at a restaurant, the decorations have to be brought in and easy to take down.  Unless you can get a private room, you may only have a few minutes to decorate and generally they don’t allow you to hang things on their walls or ceilings.   The other thing is you may not know exactly what you will be given, in terms of the tables and chairs and where you will be seated, so you need to be flexible.  The decorations should be finished or almost finished and can be set up in about 10-15 minutes.  

Here are basics you can pretty easily bring in:

  • tablecloths (I prefer inexpensive plastic ones that can be left, then you don’t have to wait for the staff to clear the tables to take your tablecloths home)
  • table runner 
  • center pieces: This is where you can have fun, I like balloons attached to some decorated boxes, a few props and maybe some flowers.  
  • napkins ( restaurants will obviously provide these but usually they are white, you can continue your theme with your own napkins)  

Remember to call a manger at the restaurant beforehand and talk to them about you want and what they allow.  The few restaurants I’ve decorated for parties have been very accommodating and I haven’t had any problems.  

For this army camouflage birthday party , I brought:

Army Supply Balloon Centerpieces

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - DIY personalized camo centerpieces SweetLaneEvents.com
Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - Army themed centerpiece with black green & gold balloons SweetLaneEvents.com

Supplies for one:

Fill the boxes the with rocks or some something heavy to make sure the balloons have some weight.  I used the Christmas boxes upside down so in case the color printing showed through the wrapping paper it would only be on the bottom, because the side of the boxes are white.  

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - Fill the boxes the with rocks or some something heavy to make sure the balloons have some weight SweetLaneEvents.com

Wrap the boxes with brown wrapping paper.  The brown paper is a little thicker than normal wrapping paper, so just make sure you are pulling the paper tight around the box and taping.

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - Wrap the boxes with brown wrapping paper. SweetLaneEvents.com

Don’t be afraid to tape I used a lot to hold the paper in place.  Just make sure the last pieces are rolled up and placed behind the flaps so there is no visible tape. 

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - Use plenty of tape to wrap the boxes SweetLaneEvents.com

Once the boxes are wrapped, I added “Kim’s B-Day” using vinyl letters.  ***I used a vinyl cutter to cut them out, but since most people don’t have there own.  You can pick up packs of letters from your local craft store, write your own or if you happen to own a Silhouette you can cut out your own.  

Stack the boxes and add a plastic dress up camouflaged army helmet.   Use brown twine to tie the three pieces together.  Leave some left on the the top for when you tie on the balloons.  

The balloons I waited till the day of the party to pick-up.  I used a total of seven balloons: 2 black, 2 gold and 3 green and asked for them to have black ribbon put on each balloon.  Tie together and knot them well to the package.  

Putting together the rest of the table

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - putting together the rest of the table SweetLaneEvents.com

I set everything up at home first to make sure I was happy with the result before the party.  The only work required though was cutting the camouflage netting into three pieces for the table runner.  I purchased the 6.5 x 5 ft size and folded it into thirds along the long edge and cut.  Super simple, no need to cut straight lines, the ragged edges don’t even show.  Overlap the ends of each piece so it looks like one long runner.  Actually I only ended up needing two of the pieces when I got to the restaurant so I used the third for the gift table.  

After the tablecloths and the runners are down it is just  mater of placing the centerpieces and having fun setting out the extra helmets, army men and napkins.  And ta-dah you have a super simple army camouflage birthday party!  

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - cut the camouflage netting into three pieces for the table runner SweetLaneEvents.com

Army Camouflage 60th Birthday Party - birthday girl SweetLaneEvents.com


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission if you make a purchase.   If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link.  The price of the item is the same for you whether it is an affiliate link or not, and using affiliate links helps me to maintain this website and support myself.

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Simplified

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner again.  Another holiday to use an excuse to get together with friends and family to drink, eat and wear green.  Well, actually it is a day to celebrate the Irish, commemorate Saint Patrick and a day of feast.    Last year I put together a very last minute dinner party for St. Patrick’s day in three days for a small gathering. The recipes I found on Pinterest and warned the guests the meal was mostly an experiment.  But the food turned out wonderful, Corned Beef Shepherd’s Pie and Traditional Irish Soda Bread.  I made my own St. Patty’s Frozen Cocktails, and my mom contributed her famous lime green jello and my aunt brought Irish Creme Brownies.  

  • Corned Beef Shepard's Pie
    Corned Beef Shepard’s Pie
  • St Patty's Frozen Cocktail Prep Sweet Lane Events
    St Patty’s Frozen Cocktail
  • Irish Soda Bread in the Oven
    Irish Soda Bread
  • Irish Soda Bread at St. Patrick's Day dinner
    Irish Soda Bread
  • St. Patrick's Day Green Jello
    Mom’s Green Jello
  • St. Patrick's Day Irish Creme Brownies
    Aunt’s Irish Creme Brownies

The Food

This year I’m really going to keep it really simple and lighten up the menu, with a vegetable pureed soup and the soda bread.  No invitations, just a simple family St. Patrick’s Day dinner.   When I traveled through Ireland a few years ago, I think every restaurant and pub served a vegetable soup and it was always delicious.  I am hoping I can find a recipe that is just as good.   I found a few, but this Creamy Vegetable Soup is the one I think I will try.  Along with the same recipe I used last year for some Irish Soda Bread, I can’t wait!!!

The Decorations

 The decorations will be just a re-use of the last years and my decorations from before.  Since this year will just be a family dinner,  no need to buy more decorations.  Re-using decorations is fun challenge because you want to try to use them in a different way then you have used them before, to make it fresh.  Either way you will probably be the only one who notices if you used the decorations or not.  This goes for every holiday but I believe decorations for the most part, should be something you love, should be re-usable and easy to store.  

Here are some photos from last years decorations:

  • St. Patrick's day candle table decor
    St. Patrick’s day candle table decor
  • St. Patrick's Day dinner Party decor by Sweet Lane Events
    St. Patrick’s Day table decor
  • Shamrock Door Decoration
  • St. Patrick's Day dinner Party by Sweet Lane Events
    Moss Table Runner
  • St. Patrick's Day dinner Party table scape by Sweet Lane Events
    St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Tablescape
  • St Patrick's Day table props
    Fake Greens

Hope you enjoy a simple family St. Patrick’s Day dinner with people you love too!

 

Inexpensive Vase Filler Ideas

Vase & Bowl Filler Ideas that inexpensive or already at home

Planning your next party, maybe it’s a wedding shower, a retirement party or any party and you will usually need something to fill up.   Vases, jars, bowls, pots, boxes, buckets, usually there is something at a party that needs to be filled up just for the sake of being filled up. The filler maybe just decorative to fill empty space or it could serve a purpose, like standing up signs for a photo booth.   Whatever the reason, some space usually needs to be filled up with something pretty that ties in with your theme or color palette.

The first place you can go to find a vase filler is your local craft store or floral supply store.  They usually have some beautiful options, sand in all colors of the rainbow, beautiful white shells, shiny river rocks, and more.  The one problem is they can be expensive if you need a large quantity.  If you do fall in love with say for example some beautiful crushed shells, you could buy a smaller quantity by finding some other less expensive filler, like sand from an home improvement store.  The sand can be the main filler and the shells can be used sparingly on top.

Okay so the way to really save some money on your vase fillers you need to get really creative!  It is fun, when you really start looking around, the ideas are endless.  

LOOK AROUND YOUR HOUSE

I mean really take a walk around your house and look for vase fillers with fresh eyes.  Maybe you have a collection of wine corks or a vase already filled with glass marbles.  Your kitchen, I bet may have some rice or sugar sitting in the pantry.  

take a walk outside

Outside can be a treasure trove of vase fillers.  Start in your own yard, rocks, dirt, sticks, leaves, seed pods, and who know what else you can find.  I walk every morning by an condo complex with trees that drop these large what I think are seed pods, all over the place.  They are all over the place so for a few mornings a took a bag and picked up the few that had ended up in the street.  Please take caution with taking things from any where other than your own property.  Don’t take anything off private land unless you have permission.

These are some of the different materials I’ve used as vase, bowl, basket, cornucopia fillers.  
Ideas to fill vases from Sweet Lane Events
(1) Lemon slices
(2) Dried orange slices, seed pods, faux berries
(3) Plastic Easter eggs
(4) Pine cones, faux leaves, mini faux pumpkins
(5) Faux snow
(6) Taffy
(7) Shelled nuts, dried orange slices, faux leaves
(8) Tissue paper
(9) Cranberries, Christmas tree cuttings
(10) Shelled nuts, faux berries
(11) Tissue paper scraps
(12) Rocks, dried beans
 

materials to use for vase fillers

  • Flowers
  • Dried flowers
  • Leaves
  • Sticks
  • Weeds
  • Colored water
  • Rocks
  • Pine cones
  • Seed pods
  • Dirt
  • Bark
  • Sand
  • Shells
  • Marbles
  • Fruit: slice or whole
  • Candy: wrapped or unwrapped
  • Scrap paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Newspaper
  • Wine corks
  • Beads
  • Sugar
  • Rice
  • Dried beans
  • Coffee beans

This list is just to get you thinking of the things you might already have at home or can pick up inexpensively.  I’m sure you can come up with some more ideas and I’ll probably think of something else as soon I post this.  Anyway get creative, there are so many different materials that can be used to fill vases.  

Make a Donut Stand & Sign for a DIY Donut Bar

In the last post,  ADD A DIY DONUT BAR TO YOUR NEXT PARTY,  I explained all the essentials you need for a DIY donut bar.  Of course the sky is the limit for the embellishments and extras you can add to make your donut bar extra special, it could look like you just walked into a donut shop.  Well that is not my style, nor is it in my budget, not that it wouldn’t be amazing.  Any how I did do two things to make the donut bar for my mom’s birthday special,  I added a donut sign and made my own donut stands.  The supply lists for the projects are really inexpensive, it just takes a little time to make them.

how to make a donut sign and donut stands for a diy donut bar

 donut sign and donut stands for diy donut bar

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Add a DIY Donut Bar to Your Next Party

DIY Donut Bars, they are still popping up all over Pinterest.  Why? Because they are wonderfully delicious, super simple, and are so much fun!!! They are being used at weddings receptions, brunches, baby showers, graduations and birthday parties.  I did a DIY donut bar two years ago for my mom’s 60th birthday and I don’t know why I didn’t think of sharing it earlier because it was really easy to put together.  Although even then donut bars were all over Pinterest, I didn’t do it because everyone else seemed to be, I did it because I knew my mom would love it!  She has told me a story a few times about the fresh donuts on Friday mornings that were served in her dorm cafeteria.  Not only did they serve fresh hot donuts but had a bucket of  frosting to spread on top.   My mom has one of biggest sweet tooths that I know of,  so she would skip class sometimes just to make sure she made it for fresh donuts and frosting!  Anyway I had to recreate this special treat for her and a DIY donut bar seemed like the perfect way!  

Donut Bar for birthdays, baby showers, weddings & graduations

 DIY Donuts with toppings: cinnamon & sugar, cookie crumbs, sprinkles, candy, cereal & coconut

WHAT YOU NEED for a diy donut bar: 

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Thanksgiving Grocery & Prep List Templates

Thanksgiving grocery and shopping list templates

Hard to believe this year is almost over with and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It is one of my favorite holidays and I can’t wait!  It is my aunt’s and my holiday, I started at 8 years old and I love every minute of it, well almost every minute.  I have very vivid memories of waking up early on Thanksgiving to make the stuffing and prep the turkey.  If I close my eyes, it is still dark out, we are in are pj’s, the house is still quite while everyone else sleeps.  I can smell the coffee brewing, the onions & sausage cooking for the stuffing and feel the icy turkey on my hands.  

Thanksgiving really is the best because it is just about being grateful, spending time with family and eating yummy food.  Even though it doesn’t have gifts to buy or trees to trim, it still comes with it’s share of work.  Getting your home ready to serve and feed a lot of people is no easy task.  About 8 years ago I started working on creating a book that would be a guide to creating our families Thanksgiving every year.  In my family the Thanksgiving menu is basically the same every year, it has changed throughout the years but it is a slow change, where every now and then a dish may get replaced with a new one.  So this book would make it easier for my aunt & I to put Thanksgiving together every year, so we weren’t having to re-invent the wheel each year.  It has all the recipes, grocery list, prep list, supply list, etc, that we need every year.  Now we could hand it off to someone else in the family and they would have a guide to creating Thanksgiving.  

This Thanksgiving book is nothing fancy, just a binder with dividers & some sheet protectors.  Those sheet protectors will keep your recipes much cleaner.  Anyway the important stuff is what is inside those sheet protectors.  Since I have been working on my book for over 8 years now, and I can’t help myself, I’ve been tweaking it a little bit every year to make it more useful each year.  I will share with you my templates so you can start your own Thanksgiving book and hopefully it will help to make your Thanksgiving prep a little more streamlined too

The first template is my Prep List or to do list from a month before up to the day before Thanksgiving.  The day of Thanksgiving I use a timeline, to make sure everything gets done in the right order so dinner comes out on time, but that will be later.  The prep list keeps me organized and really has reduced stress on the day of for me.  I want to enjoy spending time with my family on Thanksgiving, not be stuck in the kitchen every second, so this list helps me get things done ahead of time.  I only start a month before hand, sending out the email invite to my family.  Between that time and 2 weeks before, I’m checking my book and all my lists are ready, I have all the supplies I need and either picking or arranging to get them.  Then the week/weekend before hand, I’m doing my 1st grocery shopping trip for mostly the non-perishable items, like flour, sugar, and even the turkey, if it needs to be defrosted.  I also start pulling out my decorations, planning the tables and which dish will be served in what dish.  Then on the two days before hand, I’m doing any house cleaning that is necessary (I have a strong opinion on this topic, that your house doesn’t not need to be spotless for your guests, because it is going to be mess again when they leave.  Yes it should be picked up and the dust bunnies shouldn’t be showing, but it doesn’t have to pass a white glove test.  Check out this post about cleaning your home The Stress-Free Way to Prepare your Home for a Party), setting up tables and chairs, finishing decorating, doing the last grocery shopping trip and prepping any food items that I can.  I chop all the vegetables, grate cheese, chop nuts, make cranberry sauce, whatever can be done to save time on Thanksgiving.  

Click below to open the prep list.  It is an fillable PDF format and is filled with my prep list for Thanksgiving, to give you a guide to start with.  You can easily delete any line and add your own to do items.  You can save this form to your desktop and have it every year to fill out.  

Thanksgiving Prep List

The second list I have for you is a Grocery List.  This is actually my favorite to have each year because I hate making grocery lists especially ones with a bunch of recipes.  This template I left blank for the most part because your recipes are going to call for different items then mine.  At the top of list you will see two lines for recipes, this is where I put the recipes I have included on the grocery list.  This isn’t so much a necessity for this year but next year when you pull up this list again, you will see exactly the recipes you put on this grocery list.  Then you don’t have to go back over it again and check it against your recipes to make sure it is correct for that year’s meal. To get this list ready, I take each recipe and add each item to the list, recipe by recipe.  So for things like flour, you have it listed on more than one recipe but you just keep adding the amount to the quantity.  I use the quantity column to put in exactly what I need, not what necessarily I need to buy.  Because after my grocery list is ready and before I go shopping, I print it off and check off what I already have or write down the amount I do have.  So for example, I need 5 1/2 boxes of margarine,  but I already have 3 sticks so I will hand write that on my list, so I don’t have to buy that 6th box of margarine.  

Thanksgiving Grocery List

I hope you enjoy these templates for Thanksgiving and I really hope they help make the planning a little more streamlined so you can be less stressed and have more time with your family!

BTW, I intentionally left these templates simple and without decoration.  Not that I don’t love a beautiful form but I wanted these lists to be practical and not require a lot of ink to print.  Let me know what you think.

 

Make Ahead Halloween Frozen Cocktail 

Planning a Halloween soirée or just want to make your night handing out candy a little more fun, this make ahead Halloween frozen cocktail will do the trick.   It’s slushy and refreshing, perfect for anytime of the year.  The intense orange color and flavor is perfect for Halloween.  

Make Ahead Halloween Frozen Cocktail: 6 oz triple sec, 4 oz Vodka, 16 oz water, 3 individual orange soda singles to go. Freeze 6 hours. Easy slushy orange drink www.sweetlaneevents.com/make-ahead-halloween-frozen-cocktail 

The making ahead is the best part about this drink recipe.  It frees up your time during a party, that you are not mixing up drinks for your guest.  Even if you don’t make it for a party, its always there ready in your freezer whenever you are ready for a cocktail.  

SKINNY COCKTAIL

This orange cocktail is low in calories, roughly 100 calories per serving!  Love that right?  Takes a little of the guilt out of enjoying a cocktail.   This is just an estimate, actual calories and nutritional information will vary depending on the brand and proof of alcohol you use.   This is what I used: vodka is roughly 64 calories her ounce, triple sec is roughly 125 calories her ounce, and each singles packet has 10 calories each.  

ingredients are few and simple

Just vodka, triple sec, water and  orange soda “singles to go” packets.  You can use your favorite vodka, or if you don’t have one I recommend a middle priced vodka.  I am no connoisseur of vodka but I stay away from the really cheap vodka, because I feel it over powers the drink.  A step above that is usually the name brand vodka’s, the names that sound somewhat familiar, work great.  Triple sec is great, most stores have no more than one to choose from, but the orange flavor is awesome and its inexpensive.  Most grocery stores carry these “singles to go” packets but the flavors can vary store to store.  I have the best luck at the 99 cent store for the Orange Crush flavor.  

 

Make Ahead Halloween Frozen Cocktail: 6 oz triple sec, 4 oz Vodka, 16 oz water, 3 individual orange soda singles to go. Freeze 6 hours. Easy slushy orange drink www.sweetlaneevents.com/make-ahead-halloween-frozen-cocktail Orange Crush “Singles to Go” packets

Make Ahead Halloween Frozen Cocktail: 6 oz triple sec, 4 oz Vodka, 16 oz water, 3 individual orange soda singles to go. Freeze 6 hours. Easy slushy orange drink www.sweetlaneevents.com/make-ahead-halloween-frozen-cocktail Stir the ingredients together is glass batter bowl & metal spoon to avoid staining.  

Make Ahead Halloween Frozen Cocktail: 6 oz triple sec, 4 oz Vodka, 16 oz water, 3 individual orange soda singles to go. Freeze 6 hours. Easy slushy orange drink www.sweetlaneevents.com/make-ahead-halloween-frozen-cocktail Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours 

Make Ahead Halloween Frozen Cocktail: 6 oz triple sec, 4 oz Vodka, 16 oz water, 3 individual orange soda singles to go. Freeze 6 hours. Easy slushy orange drink www.sweetlaneevents.com/make-ahead-halloween-frozen-cocktail Use a fork to break up and create slushy mixture

Make Ahead Halloween Frozen Cocktail: 6 oz triple sec, 4 oz Vodka, 16 oz water, 3 individual orange soda singles to go. Freeze 6 hours. Easy slushy orange drink www.sweetlaneevents.com/make-ahead-halloween-frozen-cocktail 

Orange Pop Frozen Cocktail
Serves 6
delicious, make ahead, slushy, orange frozen cocktail
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Ingredients
  1. 6 oz Triple Sec
  2. 4 oz Vodka
  3. 16 oz water
  4. 3 individual Crush Orange singles to go
  5. Orange sugar *optional
Instructions
  1. Combine the first hour ingredients in a bowl, mix to make sure the powder gets absorbed and mixed in. Use a glass batter bowl and metal spoon so there is no worry about staining and it is easy to pour. The orange coloring is intense in the "singles to go" packets, so please be careful.
  2. Once mixed pour into a freezer safe container. Again I use glass so staining isn't an issue. I have a bread loaf size glass dish, it holds 45 oz and has a plastic lid.
  3. Freeze for at least 6 hours. About half way through, it is not necessary but it helps make it easier to serve later, it you use a fork to break up the hard edges and mix it up.
  4. Once frozen, use a fork again to break it up and create a slushy mixture. It is ready to serve or you can put back into the freezer and it is ready to go anytime you are.
  5. To prep your glasses, dip the glass ring into bowl/plate of water and then into a bowl/plate of orange sugar. Carefully scoop the slushy cocktail into the glass and serve with a spoon.
Sweet Lane Events http://www.sweetlaneevents.com/
 Hope you enjoy this cocktail!!  Please share if you do

Simple Guide to Serving Food at Your Open House

My parents right now are in the process of selling their home,  they’ve lived in for 34 years.  The house my brother and I grew up in.  So it is a little sad but its a good change for my parents to move into a smaller, one story home.    I’m probably having the hardest time with it, I am real sentimentalist and have a irrational attachment sometimes to inanimate objects.  

Simple Guide to Serving Food at Your Open House | Sweet Lane Events

Anyway they are having some trouble selling the house.  Its in a good neighborhood with a really good school district, and its priced well.  It’s move in ready and yet after great comments, there hasn’t been any offers.  So this past week they took it off the market temporary and did a lot of updates.  They put in new carpet, did some more cleaning out, some touch up work and got already for the open houses this weekend.  I thought I could help by adding some food and drink for the open house.  The house is a unique tri-level floor plan and it works great for holidays and parties.  So I wanted guests to feel and see how this house works for parties.  Another reason I’m a little sad, holidays won’t be the same any more when they are not at this house.

Assembling the Menu for the Open house

I wanted to keep it simple and affordable, so something salty, sweet and a beverage would be perfect.  I want visitors to the open house to feel welcome and special but I didn’t want to serve a full meal.  Also when designing the menu as the house has to be decorated in a style that appeals to most, the menu does too.  I also considered allergies, especially nuts seem to be one of the most prevalent today.  Note, just avoiding nuts is not enough, you have to read any packaged ingredients to make sure they are not packaged in a nut or tree nut facility.  Food alone will not sell a house by any means but I think it helps make a house feel like a home to visitors.  

The Sweet

Chocolate chip cookies, a classic, seemed like the best .  I think most of the population loves a chocolate chip especially a warm one right of the oven.  Also it makes the house smell awesome!  I mean homemade chocolate chip cookies, not the refrigerator kind.  I know they are more work but homemade looks like you put some care and effort into making them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies | Simple Guide to Serving Food at Your Open House | Sweet Lane Events

Of course if you have your own chocolate chip cookie recipe, by all means please use that.  It will make it very special for your visitors.  To be honest, I actually don’t have my own chocolate chip cookie recipe, most of the time I use they one off the Nestle chocolate chip bag.  However I wanted to have soft cookies this time and adding cream cheese is a great way to do that.  This is the recipe I used: Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from Averie Cooks.  I doubled the batch and rolled up the balls and froze them ahead of time, so they were easy for the real estate agent to stick on a pan and bake.  

The salty

Popcorn, this is store bought, right from a bag.  In my opinion the pre-popped bag of just salted popcorn is the best.  Unless you happen to have a popcorn machine, that you can borrow (I don’t) a bag is the next best thing.  Air-popped popcorn doesn’t work well in my opinion unless you can serve it right away, its get stale too quickly.  

The Salty | Popcorn | Simple Guide To Serving Food at Your Open House

Refreshing beverage

Iced tea, seemed like the best overall well liked beverage to serve instead of just water, plus we’ve been having warm weather lately and something cold would be refreshing.  Lemonade also came to mind but its not so great with chocolate.  One thing to consider with tea however is the color, if someone spills it, could they ruin carpet or furniture?  The other dilemma is whether to serve it sweetened or unsweetened. I decided to serve my favorite tea, I drink every day, Arizona Zero Calorie Green Tea with Ginseng.  It has honey in it but in my opinion it it is not overly sweet.  I also sliced some fresh lemons and froze them with wax paper between the slices.  They add some lemon flavor and help to keep the tea cold without watering it down.
Iced Tea with Lemon & Honey | Simple Guide To Serving Food at Your Open House | Sweet Lane Events

WHAT you need

Below is a list of everything I used to put this presentation together but use what you have, no need to buy anything other than some of the food ingredients.      The list of food below, includes the ingredients for a double batch of Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies.

  • tray
  • paper lunch bags 
  • scissors
  • basket / bowl
  • freezer / parchment paper (needed if your basket/bowl isn’t food safe)
  • scoop 
  • beverage dispenser /pitcher
  • plastic cups
  • napkins
  • cookie plate/platter
  • chalk label & chalk paint pen *optional
FOOD
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
  • 4 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks 
  • a few gallons jugs of Arizona Zero Calorie Green Tea with Ginseng
  • a few bags of popped popcorn
  • a few lemons

PREP & SET UP

You can prep the day before hand or the day of, but you’ll need about 2 hours, depending on how fast you work.  The prep work involves:

  • mixing up the cookie dough
  • rolling up the dough into balls to freeze
  • slicing the lemons to freeze for the tea
  • cutting the paper lunch bags into snack size bags 

Set everything up for your real estate agent, to make it easy.  Besides setting up everything, I pull out cookie sheets, parchment paper, timer, spatula, and a cooling rack to make it simple for them to bake the cookies.  I leave the tea in the fridge and lemons in the freezer so they can pour it and place it as close to opening time as possible.  I also leave the agent a note with instructions, so they know how long to bake the cookies, how to turn the oven on, and where to find everything.  Also one more thing, before you do all this, I gave them a heads up the day before the open house to let them know I would have all this stuff ready for them, just so they weren’t surprised when they got there.  

THE PRESENTATION

Simple Guide to Serving Food at Your Open House | Sweet Lane EventsSimple Guide to Serving Food at Your Open House | Sweet Lane Events

Happy house selling!!!

 

DIY Shredded Paper Filler

Shredded paper filler  is so simple to make yourself, its ridiculous.  It is also unbelievably less expensive then buying the crinkled paper filler from a store.  With DIY shredded paper filler you can fill your gift bags or baskets or use it to decorate your next party.  

diy shredded paper filler

Supplies:

  • scraps of card stock, used tissue paper (color(s) of your choice), newspaper,  magazines sheets, etc.  
  • electronic paper shredder 

Directions:

  1. Clean out the blades of your paper shredder of any old paper, very CAREFULLY!  Make sure the shredder is UNPLUGGED and turned OFF FIRST!  Please be very careful, the blades are sharp, do not cut yourself.  I used an old pair of tweezers to carefully pull out the paper.
  2. Toss out any old paper in the wastebasket or collection container, you want to try an avoid any mixing of unwanted paper with your paper  Also make sure the container is clean, you so have a clean collection area.
  3. Plug your shredder back in, turn on  and carefully feed your paper back into the shredder.  Voila, paper gift bag filler! 

Did I tell you this was simple or what?  The small amount of time it takes to make your own shredded paper gift bag filler is absolutely worth the cost savings.  

Depending on the outcome you want, every paper will give a slightly different result.  Tissue paper results in a little more uneven, rough texture, because it tends to tear in the blades.  While card stock results in small even strips of paper.  However your results will vary from mine, depending on the type of shredder you have and the paper you use.

Not only is this shredded paper great for gift bags, but it can also be used in glass vases for a colorful addition to a table, in party favor bag,  or as a basket filler.  

Who knew shredders could be used for more than credit card applications and confidential information?   Have fun shredding!