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Thursday, November 29, 2012


For my granddaughters 14th birthday party I hosted a Mystery Dinner for her and 9 of her friends. They had no idea what to expect - in fact they thought they were attending a very nice birthday dinner for their very good friend. 

Here is how it works. 

First you create the menu. This is a four course dinner with 3 items per course. We even had placecards for each guest so they would think it was a special dinner. 

Our menu was


Tomato Soup




Drink (we used sparkling cider) 

Next you must create 12 unique names of items - 3 for each course -

My granddaughter and her friends are cheerleaders so we used some cheer names, some inside joke names and since we live by the beach some beach names. 

Next you randomly assign the food and other items like the fork, knife, spoon, napkin to each of the names you have created. We had two extra so we used them for tasks that each guest had to perform.  They were:   Tell your favorite joke and tell something funny about the birthday girl. 

The inside of the menu should look like this


First Course ____________________                                                   Beach

                    ____________________                                                   Sand

                    ____________________                                                   Cheer

                                                                                                           Pom Pom

Second Course ___________________                                               Back Flip

                    ______________________                                               Bow and Arrow

                    ______________________                                               Tumble

and so on until you have 4 courses and 12 items on the right side.

Next your guests fill in the blanks for each course using each item only once, in any order.

When you are ready to serve you match the items they selected, course by course, to the legend that translates what each item is.  For example Beach may be a fork, Sand a Napkin, Cheer soup and so on. 

As you serve the guests some may get their entire meal without any utensils - or - dessert before the main course - or - if they are lucky all of their utensils before they receive any food to eat.  They must complete each course before you move on the next.

It is a lot of fun. There was so much laughter all night long!  Make sure you use a disposable tablecloth because for those who did not get a napkin until the very end the tablecloth became their napkins. 

There is a saying that I always have on the front of the menu:

"It is one of the Blessings of old friends and family that you can afford to be stupid with them"

                                                         -Ralph Waldo-Emerson-    

I have done this mystery dinner for friends, family during the holidays and just for fun. It is a great creative way to host a dinner party! 



Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School Slumber Parties

Back to School Slumber Parties

As the heat of summer starts to cool, back to school is on the minds of families. To take the edge off and give your child a jump start on her social life, why not host a unique sleep over party? Whether you plan your own party or use one of Posh Party Box’s unique celebrations – like the Sockadelic Sleepover Party for tweens – your guests will enjoy the below activities:

Game and Activity Ideas

For a music theme, ask guests to dress up as their favorite musician. The other kids can guess who they are. For games, offer karaoke, act out songs and have guests guess what they are. Depending on age, musical chairs is fun too! For party favors, give guests CDs filled with songs selected by your child.

For a fashion party, ask guests to dress up with a princess, royalty or wealthy rich theme in mind. Serve fancy finger foods, and use elegant dishes. For activities – depending on age – either give girls beauty makeovers, manicures and pedicures or have the girls give them to each other. Once makeovers are complete, host a fashion show, snapping photos of girl walking the runway. For party favors, give pictures of  girls on the runway or offer purse gift bags with nail polish, lip gloss, etc. Be sure to check out our Glamour Nights party as the entire party becomes a gift bag!

Another fun theme is performance arts. Ask guests to dress as a pop diva, movie star, ballet dancer, belly
dancer… The possibilities are endless! The menu can include colorful, exotic items. For an activity, videotape each guest as they perform their talent. The kids can make up dance routines, watch old movies that tie in, host a talent show, etc. There are apps now for the iPhone, iTouch and iPad that allow you to create a movie trailer.  My granddaughter and her friend created a Chef Cook Off Movie Trailer that was very funny! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentine's Day

The Origin of Valentines Day
Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Valentines were handmade and had verses in which tiny pictures took the place of some of the words. They also had ornamental lettering in the style of illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages.

“Cutout” Valentines were made by folding a piece of paper several times and cutting out a lacey pattern with small, pointed, scissors.

“Puzzle Purse” Valentines are a folded puzzle which was read and refolded. Among the numerous folds were written lines and verses that had to be read in a certain order to be understood.

"Pinprick” Valentines were made to look like lace by pricking tiny holes in the paper with a needle or pin.

Modern Day Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. Valentine's Day is one of the most romantic days in a year. Each of us wishes to find a unique way to celebrate with our someone special. By using your own romantic ideas you can make your Valentine's Day remarkable that will leave an unforgettable impression in the mind of your beloved.

There are many valentine ideas to create love and ambience around you and your loved one. Write a poem, have a massage for two, make a romantic late night dinner, or share an evening martini and chocolate covered strawberries. Your Valentine’s Day gift need not be expensive but should be straight from the heart. If your loved one is long distance then sending a poem would be a very personal and sentimental gift.

Kids Valentine
Kids love Valentine’s Day as well. It is a time for them to trade Valentine’s Day cards, bake cookies and of course give and receive candy. If Valentine’s Day falls on a school day it is a nice touch to bring heart-shaped cookies for your class. Below is an easy sugar cookie recipe along with icing. For something different host a Valentine’s Day cookie baking party for your child and their friends and family. It is a great way to be together on that special day.
Frosting for Sugar Cookies
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring
1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

Easy Rolled Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Girls' good deed rewarded with tour of Fire Station

Five girls ages 10-13 got more than they bargained for when they teamed up with Posh Party Box to do a good deed, putting together Toys for Tots packages to donate at San Clemente’s new fire station. The girls spent their Sunday assembling donation packages for toys for tots.

Posh Party Box donated the toys. The girls – Megan Douglas, Kennedy Kingsmill, Avery Sayler, Cameron Sayler and Jessica Rugg – assembled packages.

The girls delivered about 50 sports bags full of sports-related toys, about 20 magician hats containing wands, about 35 princess gift bags and several unwrapped toys of other types.

When the girls delivered the toy bundles to firefighters conducting a Toys for Tots drive at San Clemente’s new Avenida Victoria fire station, the firefighters were so impressed that they gave the young visitors a tour of the station.

The girls had such a great time and were so excited to be able to do something for kids who may not have had a Christmas without the donations!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Host a Treasure Hunt Children's Party

How To Host A Treasure Hunt Children’s Party

Have you ever found hordes children in your home for a party just a little too much? Your furniture is being jumped on, piles of newly-ironed children’s clothing is being thrown about, the garden is not big enough and the dog is hiding under the stairs. There are five hours to go, and you’re beginning to wish it was all over.
A Treasure Hunt is one solution to keep the party guests busy, and works like a charm!

We were lucky in having a large park nearby. This was to be the location of the Hunt. My son was six, so I chose a Pirate theme, and arranged to have a friendly uncle and my partner on hand to supervise the children. My partner and I began warming to the task of making clues. I remembered the time we made treasure maps at school and used the same technique.

Making Treasure Clues
If you feel like making these it’s fun, and does add to the excitement.
• Take sheets of paper and tear round the edges so they are uneven
• Take a wet tea bag and wipe over the surface of the paper, until it is pale golden in colour
• Put papers in a warm, dry place, like an airing cupboard or laundry room, to dry
• If you want to go for full authenticity you can burn the edges of the paper slightly, and blow out the flame quickly, to leave it charred
• Buy a length of thin red ribbon and cut into sections. After you have written the clues, roll each scroll up and tie with a bow
Children find these details very memorable. All the children (particularly the girls) wanted to take the clues and ribbon home with them to play with.
Planning your Treasure Hunt
It is important to walk the route that you want to send the children on first. Take a helper at this point, especially if they will be leading the hunt, so that you can spot natural landmarks and direct the children there. Someone will need to go out shortly before the hunt and plant the clues, too. In our park there were plenty of landmarks, e.g. a playground, a lake, an ornamental garden, woodland and a running track. We decided to use each of these as part of a task before the children could go on to solve the riddle and find the next clue. For example, a task might be ‘Go down the slide twice then return to finish the puzzle’, or ‘Run once around the running track’. This was useful as it extended the hunt, tired the children out and calmed them down so that they focused on the puzzle more easily.
Activities and Puzzles

Clues needed activities attached to them, since simply pointing the children to the next location would have meant the event was over very quickly. In practice the children loved trying to solve the puzzles as they went. It made each new location something they had worked for, rather than been given. We put the clues in waterproof boxes and hid them in bushes out of sight near to each location. Inside the box was the scroll with the clue on it and also a handful of candies to ratchet up the excitement. Make sure you put enough in for the number of guests. Anything else needed for the puzzles went in the box too eg. Code keys, dice, pencil for working out.

They’re Brighter Than You Imagine!
Clues and puzzles need thought. Children of six are more capable than you may think, especially when there is treasure at stake. We used puzzle books to help us. Code breaking was the most popular task. Letter substitution was successful – numbers for letters is a bit too easy, but a reversed alphabet kept them thinking for longer. Simple math’s questions can be made harder by using but three or four stage sums. Another good puzzle was a quiz, with the first letter of each answer spelling out the next location.

Sample clues:
Run round the running track then do the following sums
E.g. 12 + 12 – 6 ÷ 2 (= 9 which equals 9th letter of the alphabet)
Throw this dice until you get three sixes, then answer the following questions. The first letter from each answer is your next location.
Who was Top of the charts this week?
Who was the act that left X Factor this week?
What type of animal is a kangaroo?
What is the name of the President’s oldest daughter?

What was striking was just how much the children loved being challenged in this way, before running for the next clue. I still think our clues were too easy, and they solved them in no time at all. Consider making them harder than you’d imagine they might manage, and offer a little help if needed. We did notice that the brighter, more dominant children tended to take over, which could leave to quieter ones left out. In this case, perhaps take charge of the task a little and try and include everyone, even if it is just the quietest one opening the box, reading out the clues, or unrolling the scroll.

After solving all the clues and riddles the children solved the final (extra hard) puzzle and found the location. It was the ornamental garden, where I was waiting with a treasure sack for each child, and a big bottle of drink to rehydrate them after all the running around. We then walked home for party food and cake, and parents arrived quite soon afterwards. There was no leaping around or silliness as the children were worn out. The girls sat rolling up the scrolls and tying them with bows, the boys just showed off about who solved the most clues. It was one of the most successful parties I ever hosted, and they children went home satisfied, feeling like they’d achieved something and succeeded at something, which is always a great with little ones. They were proud of themselves…

… and rightly so.