Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year's Eve Bash - Family Style

It was the first New Year's Eve that both girls would be staying up until midnight, and so I decided to make a celebration out of it - one that we will all remember for years to come. We're not cool or social enough to have anyone to get together with, but we made plenty of our own fun!

I started off early in the day hanging balloons - each one marked with the hour it was to be popped. Inside each balloon was a strip of paper with an activity written on it. Then I placed corresponding gift bags filled with "supplies" on the hearth. Doing it early meant they were forced to wonder All. Day. Long. what was to come. The suspense was wonderful.

At 6:00, the festivities began. The first activity was to decorate the living room. The bag was filled with streamers, balloons, ribbons, etc. plus leis and "Happy New Year" crowns. It is apparently tremendous fun to get to do the decorating for a party. We also turned on some good music, and had snacks and appetizers laid out on the table. Throughout the night, The Daddy played guitar for us.

7:00 started the "Craziest Party Hat Contest". The supply bag was filled with every craft supply I could find in the craft room - feathers, pompoms, pipe cleaners, stickers, buttons, glitter glue, sequins, ribbon. We spread it all out on the kitchen table and set to work creating the wildest hats imaginable.

Each hat was indeed pretty wild!

 It was promised that the winner would receive a "Big Surprise" after we were finished and had voted on the best. The Daddy won, and he did indeed get a Big Surprise.

The girls had as much fun giving him the surprise as he had receiving it... probably even more!

After that, we spent an hour looking through all of the pictures from the past year on the computer, talking about the things we did, re-telling stories and remembering some of the highlights of the year. Then we made our Top 10 list of our favorite events of the year. Topping the list was our first year of baby goats, and also much to do with our other animals: getting new horses, a milk cow, a puppy, gymkhanas and rodeos, and plenty of fun experiences. After our Top 10 list was made, the girls opened an envelope that held little cards I'd made for all of us to write a wish for the coming year on. Then we attached our cards to helium-filled balloons, and sent our wishes up into the sky.

Next was an hour of more snacks and some board games. We let the kids pick the games and sat amidst the balloons and streamers and enjoyed some friendly competition.

At 10:00 we sat down to watch a movie together after making some root beer floats.This was probably not my best idea. It was hard to stay awake while trying to watch Hercules, at a time when my body was sure it was bed time. So I had some coffee.

But at 11:30, the celebration took off again. I filled that last balloon with confetti, along with the slip of paper. The supply bag held noise makers, plastic champagne cups, and party poppers (the kind that shoot confetti and ribbon everywhere.) We filled the cups with sparkling grape juice for the kids, champagne for the adults, and tried to stay awake until midnight.

 The Oldest barely made it.

But then came the countdown to midnight - we blew our noisemakers, shot confetti all over the living room, and toasted to the new year. The Littlest One changed our 2013 banner to 2014, and we all hugged and kissed and promptly went to sleep.

It was a blast planning all of it, and seeing it play out. The girls - despite the fact that it was just our little family - were thrilled to have so much excitement. And The Daddy and I enjoyed sharing all the smiles and laughter with them. I think we can chalk this up to our best New Year's Eve to date!

Here's wishing all our friends and family a happy, prosperous 2014!

On a side note: All this stuff came either from the dollar store, or from my craft and party stash. This had to be the most inexpensive party I've ever thrown. Also, the dollar store is my new favorite store. I'd never been in one until this year. But seriously, who wouldn't love a place where you can buy cans of silly string for a dollar?

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