All You Need to Know About Hosting a Great Party

Hosting a party can be fun but also super stressful. With a little planning and my seven simple tips your next party can be awesome.

Hosting a party can be fun but also super stressful. You want your guests to have an enjoyable time, the food to taste good and the atmosphere to feel welcoming. With a little planning and my seven simple tips, your next party can be all of the above. I promise you’ll have a great time too!

I haven’t hosted a lot of parties (aside from planning my wedding and DIYing most of it) and if you are reading this blog and in your twenties, you may not have either. That’s okay! Not only have I been to a lot of events I asked my mom and other seasoned hostesses what they advise to host a great party.

1. Send Invites at Least a Week in Advance

Send out an email, group text or Facebook invite at least a week in advance for an informal party. For larger gatherings give about two weeks to a months notice.

Canva is a great platform to create invites or Vista Print

Have a beginning and end time. As an introvert, I want to know how long I’m required to be somewhere. I feel so much more relaxed when I know I what to expect.

2. Prep Before the Party

I cannot stress this one enough. Prepare the food ahead of time. Make as much as you can the day before. My mom taught me this tip and it makes such a huge difference to guests. Cut vegetables, prepare salads without the dressing, cook the sides (reheat up on the day of), prepare the main dishes to be cooked or cook ahead and reheat. Do as much as you can. Not only will this eliminate stress the day of. Your guests will thank you and you can spend time hosting.

3. Remember Why You are Hosting the Event

Keep the main thing the main thing. Are you hosting a going away party or are you celebrating a first birthday? Don’t let the details get you stressed out, do your best and then enjoy being with your guests.

4. Games

This tip may be a bit of personal preference but I enjoy party games. Ice breakers are a great way to get people talking and keep the event moving along.

Minute to win it games are always a fun idea and are pretty cost-effective to implement.

5. Food

Serve an appetizer before a big meal especially if there is a few hours between guests arriving and the meal. You can even ask guests to bring an appetizer or snack.

A few of my favourite appetizers are:

Prepare simple dishes that you’ve made before. Now is not the time to experiment in making a complicated fancy dish. Stick to your tried and true crowd-pleasers.

7. Decorations and ambiance

Not every party needs a theme but it can be fun to be intentional about making guests feel special. Picking out some cute napkins, a matching tablecloth and some centrepieces can go a long way.

Play some music in the background at a level where guests can still chat. Spotify literally has a playlist for everything

Another thing I like to include is a notebook for advice or well wishes. Buy a notebook from the dollar store and some pens and have guests record a special message.

For more party ideas checkout:

Baby K Gender Reveal 

What are your best hosting tips? What is the most memorable party you’ve attended?

Hosting a party can be fun but also super stressful. With a little planning and my seven simple tips your next party can be awesome.

10 Simple Things Newlyweds Can Do To Have A Great Marriage

Being newlyweds is one of the most exciting and fun times of one’s life. The first year is filled with lots of learning, many adjustments and hopefully happy memories. 

Still being in the newlywed stage myself I understand the challenges other newlyweds may face. After talking to other newlyweds and those past this stage I have curated 10 Simple Things Newlyweds Can Do to Have a Great Marriage. Keep reading if you’re a newlywed or are looking for advice to share with a newlywed couple.

1. Leave and Cleave

As a married couple you are a new family. Now is the time to set boundaries with family, parents, kids and friends. Decide as a couple what this looks like in your relationship.

For example, choosing to put each other above everyone else (aside from God).  Telling your spouse first about a new opportunity instead of your mom. Or going to your spouse when you have a hard decision to make. These are two easy ways to show your spouse they are number one.

Finally separate yourselves as a couple physically (leave home), emotionally and financially from others. If you aren’t ready to fully take this step then you may not be ready to get married. However, being married young and having some hard years are not going to break you. Struggle if you let it can strengthen your bond.

2. Sex should be awesome, if it’s not seek out help

A lot of newlyweds struggle with sex and it’s often not talked about openly. Know that if you are having issues you are not alone. One resource I highly recommend is the blog To Love Honor and Vacuum.

Along with the book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

Finally, sex should never be used manipulatively. If it is that is a major red flag that must be addressed. A counsellor is a great person to turn to for help. 

3. Counselling is a good thing, especially as a preventative measure

Premarital counselling is a must but don’t stop there. Marriage is a huge adjustment. There is no shame in going to to see a counsellor for a relationship check-in. If you take the time now to learn strategies for dealing with conflict and how to communicate well future problems will be less detrimental to the relationship.

4. Learn to love what your spouse loves

“There is something powerful about being willing to love something you wouldn’t normally love, for the sake of the person you love.”

Audrey Roloff

If your spouse loves something (soccer, gaming, cars, reading) there is something you can find to love about it too. You may not be the best at it or understand it at first but if your willing to learn it can increase your intimacy.

5. Resolve conflict after a good night’s rest

Resolving conflict and repenting to your spouse is key to staying in love. However when both people are emotional and tired sleep is one tool that can help de-escalate the conflict. Taking time to think about the fight or writing down how you feel can provide clarity

Keep it between the two of you

Don’t involve other people in your conflict such as your parents. Instead, if you need help mediating the conflict seek out a counsellor.

Choose your battles

Not everything is worth bringing up. Or perhaps you need to lighten up on what’s bothering you. Either way pray about the situation before adressing it with your spouse.

Finally, remember you are on the same team. A tangible way to remember this while fighting is to hold hand.

6. Enjoy just being Newlyweds

Soak up the moments of finally being married. Enjoy coming home to each other, sleeping in together, going away on the weekends, whatever just the two of you enjoy.

Life changes so fast and before you know it children will come, life gets busy and those sweet newlywed days are over.

7. Bless when you want to burden

Give each other grace or act selflessly when you want to be selfish.

“Grace is giving someone the opposite of what they deserve and every day you wake up and decide I’m going to be graceful to you” 

Rachel Hollis

Remember marriage is not 50/50. It’s not going to be fair. You will do more for your spouse than it seems they do for you. When they are being grouchy because they’re tired or stressed react with kindness and love. They won’t deserve it but that’s marriage. It’s learning to give when you don’t want to.

Also even though it’s hard always talk to others positively about your spouse.

8. Get a King Size Bed

I was so surprised how many people suggested this. Responders noted you can cuddle in the middle or spread out and have your own space.

Plus when kids come along or snoring happens you’re not squished together.

9. Plan Now For Your Financial Future

Do you want to buy a house, does one parent want to stay home with the children, are you hoping to homeschool, are you going to need a new car?

Many people suggest learning to live on income now and save the other persons. That way if one parent would like to stay home or an emergency occurs it’s not a financial burden.

Also taking a finance course like Financial Peace University can be a great start to get on the same page about money. Remember money is one of the top factors in getting a divorce.

10. Pray Together

Pray together each day and share one thing you appreciate about each other from the day.

Resources for a thriving marriage:

Navigators Council A Marriage Journal

10 Simple Things Newlyweds Can Do To Have A Great Marriage, with advice from other newlyweds and those who have been married past the newlywed stage.

Click here to receive your free printable of 10 Simple Things Newlyweds Can Do To Have A Great Marriage. 

The Hard but Good Work of Being Sanctified by Marriage

Prior to marriage, I thought a spouse would always build me up and just make me feel good about myself. At times this is true. However, there are also moments where God is using my husband to teach me things about my own heart that I need to work on.

As much as I don’t like to admit I can be a pretty sensitive person. I don’t like hearing or accepting criticism. I tend to already be harsh on myself so when others point to something negative about me it can sting.

I especially become defensive when my husband makes a comment to me about something he has observed to be true. Yet, from my perspective, I perceive he is wrong.

For example the other night he made a comment that “I’m only happy when we do extravagant things”. At first, I was dumbfounded because I enjoy staying home and cuddling on the couch with a movie and pizza. However, I do love dressing up and going out for a nice dinner (which rarely, like once a year happens).

I don’t think my desire to go out is unreasonable. I’m female, I like the anticipation of a special night. Plus it’s fun to take my time getting ready and to have my husband’s undivided attention. Plus as a new mom, I need to get out of the house.

However, perhaps in his eyes, I place too much value in going out and spending money. Whereas, in my mind, I’m happy saving money and staying home. Either way, it doesn’t matter who is right.

The point I’m making is instead of reacting defensively what if I took his critique of my behaviour and analyzed it from a place of humility. A goal I have this year is to become less defensive and more open to change.

Less pride and more humility

I hope I don’t come off as a spoiled brat to my husband, but what if sometimes I do? Are there areas in my heart I need to work on? Can I accept his insight from a place of humility instead of pride and insisting he’s misinformed? Yes.

I am not perfect, neither is he.  Yet there is a lesson I can glean from this interaction.

In reality, my response shows the state of my heart. A closed heart would insist I’m fine, I have no areas to improve. An open heart would be willing to listen to my husband and examine if there is truth to his statement and what changes could be made.

I love my husband but sometimes his words can pierce my heart in a sensitive spot. I have a choice to make. I can either let his words draw us apart or together. It’s my choice.

I want to have a healthy marriage. I want to continue to grow as a person and become more like Christ. When situations like this arise instead of letting them weaken me I choose to let them be a tool to strengthen me.

Sometimes though I have to overlook comments that I know are untrue and remember what I know my husband thinks of me. There are times where I need to give him grace as he also does to me. (I just had a baby so he’s been putting up with a lot of hormones lately).

To clarify I’m not advocating to be a doormat or to be passive. Scripture should be the starting point to determine whether a comment is valid. If something you husband says directly goes against scripture hold him accountable. At that point, it’s not your opinion he’s against it’s God’s.

Instead, I’m asking that we show more humility towards our spouses. To consider we don’t have it all figured out.  Perhaps God has put this person in our life to help mould us into the person He desires us to be.

One final point, pray. Pray for yourself but also pray for your hubby. Pray that you would allow God to strengthen your marriage and make you both more like Christ.

The next time your spouse makes a comment that at first feels unloving before lashing back with a prideful response take a moment and humbly consider their words. Are they in line with scripture? Is this an area you need to work on? Will you let this interaction draw you apart or closer to your spouse?
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4 Ways To Stay Connected with Your Husband After Having a Baby

Becoming a mother has been a transformative experience. I can live on a lot less sleep than I thought, I can be awoken from the deepest of sleep if I hear my baby stirring and I care much less about my needs or wants now that I have this little life depending on me. However, it can be easy for me to get so caught up in baby care, especially during the newborn weeks that my husband can take a backseat. Of course, this isn’t intentional but her needs often take priority during this season of life. Now that our baby is just over five months and we are more settled into our parenting roles this is the advice I would give to a new mom who desires to keep her marriage connected while navigating into parenthood.

1. Know Your Love Language and ASK FOR IT

A lot of the time we are told to know our partners love language so we can love them better. I agree it is important to study your spouse and learn how to fill their love tank. However, when you are postpartum and sleep deprived it’s so important to take care of yourself so that you, in turn, can care for others.

Personally, my love language is physical touch. For me, I need at least 20 seconds of a good, cuddly hug from my husband. After that, I feel so energized, cherished and taken care of. Instead of expecting my husband to read my mind when I’m feeling down I will ask or tell him I need a hug.

If you don’t know your love language take this quiz and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to help you be the best version of yourself for your family.

2. Get Creative With Date Night

Pre-baby date nights were easy. We could stay out late and be spontaneous. Post-baby we’ve had to make a few adjustments. Such as bringing our baby to dinner with us, eating out on a less busy night like Sunday and bringing my nursing cover. As long as we don’t stay out too long, our baby has done great whenever we’ve gone out to eat.

Another option for date night is having your hubby run out to grab a pizza (feta, pineapple, peppers and buffalo chicken was a recent favourite) and then watching a movie after your baby is in bed.

Date night can be tricky with a new baby but it’s not impossible to set aside time for just you and your hubby. Even if the baby has to tag along with you it is important to have intentional couple time.

Have You Downloaded My FREE Guide of 10 Cheap + Fun Date Night Ideas?

3. Check in with Your Hubby

One thing that helps me feel connected to my husband is our chats before bed. This doesn’t happen every night because he works continental shifts. However, we often catch up when he gets home.

If we don’t see each other at night we will text throughout the day. I try to be intentional to encourage my husband. I thank him for working hard for our family or I’ll send him pictures of our baby.

4. Affirm Actions You Appreciate in Your Husband

Along with encouraging my husband, I try to notice the things he does well and point them out to him. When we magnify positive attributes in our husbands they are more likely to keep doing those things. If your hubby is really good at responding to your baby’s needs or comforting her be sure to point this out to him.

Positive affirmation is rewarding and people will keep doing things they are appreciated for. Refrain from criticizing and try to speak about the good your husband is doing instead.

A new baby brings a lot of changes to a couple’s dynamic. It can be easy for both mom and dad to shift attention off of each other and onto the new bundle of joy. However, it is important to remember that the best thing you can do for your baby is to have a healthy and thriving relationship with your spouse.

The point is to not put pressure on yourselves, these are just suggestions you may not have thought of or already do. Either way, it’s important that you make an effort to keep your marriage connected.

Remember keeping your marriage connected doesn’t have to include a formal or scheduled date night. It just takes remembering to communicate with your spouse, telling them what you need to feel loved, affirming what they are doing well and making time to do things you enjoy together with or around your baby’s schedule.

How to keep your marriage connected as new parents while navigating life with a newborn baby.

5 Ways to Stay Strong Mentally as a Mom

As a new mom or really anyone leading a busy life, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by one’s present circumstances. Maybe you feel stuck or like things will never change or improve.

However, a goal I have for this year is to overcome my mental outlook and instead of being lead by my feelings into despair and sadness I’m working on telling myself how to feel.

My daughter is a great source of joy and I find myself choosing to be happy for her instead of moping around feeling sad or discouraged. She deserves to be happy and I want her to feel secure and loved despite how I’m feeling on the inside.

Along with her motivating me to choose joy here are 5 more methods I implement on a daily basis to stay strong mentally.

1. Listen to uplifting podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts? If so leave me a comment with your favourites down below. If not, why?

Podcasts are super popular right now. There are podcasts for every topic, hobby or interest.

A few of my favourites that keep me motivated, informed and encouraged are The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Risen Motherhood, Journey Woman, Surviving Sarah, Lighten Up with Melanie Dale, The Simple Show, The Lazy Genius, Business Wars, Tides of History, and The Popcast.

If you like to listen to podcasts on the go and don’t have an aux cord or built-in Bluetooth this is the adapter I use in my car. The last one we had was super cheap and broke. This one has worked great and is very easy to use.

Bluetooth Adapter

2. Play music

The simple of act of playing upbeat, positive music can instantly uplift your mood. I vacillate between using Spotify and YouTube to stream music. I do enjoy Spotify because of the ease of selecting a playlist to match my mood. YouTube is also nice because there aren’t as many ads.

Here is a kid-friendly playlist on Spotify:

3. Go Outside

I am a total homebody, I love being in my habitat and being productive. However, going for a simple walk with Lyla and listening to a podcast really helps shift my perspective to a more positive one. Never underestimate what a change of scenery can do for your mental state.

I live in a colder climate so most of the year it is not easy to get outside for a walk. I try to go out only if the temperature is above O Celcius and around 2 pm when it’s warmest out. When it’s too cold to be outside I like to walk around a large store and browse or the local mall.

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4. Run an Errand

As much as I love being at home 90% of the time, sometimes I need to get out. Whether it’s running to the post office or Walmart I always feel so much better when I get home. Plus it helps break up the day and Lyla usually naps in the car. It’s a win-win. I get time alone and the baby gets in a good nap.

5. Plan to be Social with Real People

Finally, as much as my introvert self would rather be a recluse I need real people. Even though I live far from some family I try to see them once a month. I also try to video chat with my friends.

Volunteer with Your Baby

It is also important to build a community where you live. To meet new people in your area consider volunteering for a cause you care about. For me, that is food skills and food insecurity. In the past, I have volunteered with Growing Chefs! and VON where I cooked with kids and prepared a low-cost meal for seniors. In this season of life, I’m caring for my daughter and cannot volunteer as frequently as I would like. However, I volunteer in our church’s nursery one Sunday a month. This allows me to socialize with other moms and make new friends.

Join a Local Moms Group

When I moved to my new neighbourhood one of the first things I did was a Facebook search for our neighbourhood moms group. The group is open to any moms wanting to join and each week they have a meet-up to socialize and chat.

Mom life or whatever tasks your life includes on the daily can be draining. I hope these simple ideas will help improve your mood and help you be your best for those around you.Encouragement for new moms trying to stay mentally strong

*affiliate link used

My Husband Bought Me Donuts and I Cried…

My husband bought me donuts and I cried.

Maybe it’s because I’m hormonal. Even though I’m six months postpartum.

I cried because of his kindness.
These six donuts were around $20.
These were not ordinary donuts. They were locally made foodie, novelty, bakery donuts.

That we drove 20 minutes to get at a chic downtown shop.

I didn’t find out the price until later that day when he casually mentioned that he wanted to tell me something about the donuts.

At the time I was setting up the tv to watch the hockey playoffs with him.

He explained how the bakery didn’t sell donuts by the dozen or half dozen. Instead, they are individually priced. Therefore for our six donuts, it had cost about $20. 
I stopped what I was doing and went over to him and hugged him. With my face in his chest, I started crying.

Previous to buying the donuts, on the car ride there he informed me I had gone over my data limit for the month on my phone. As a result, we would have to pay an extra fee. With one income it’s not very considerate of me to be so careless.

My husband graciously explained to me how I need to be more careful and consider the time he puts in at work to pay for our families needs. I totally understood and felt awful. I also felt like I had let him down and I was disappointed in myself.

To me, our donut trip was ruined.

Until later that day when I learned despite what I had done, he still bought us donuts and coffee because he knew how much I wanted to try this place.

My husband was a picture of the gospel to me.

He showed me love and favour when I didn’t deserve it.

I cried when I found that out.

If I’m being honest I feel like I disappoint my husband a lot of the time.

I’m often too critical towards him or I complain too much about our circumstances.

I fear that he doesn’t like me.

My thoughts are wrong. He loves me.

He loves me despite my shortcomings.

I want to remember the day he bought me donuts and coffee.

 

My husband bought me donuts. These were not ordinary donuts, but  specialty $20 for a half dozen donuts I didn't deserve. Through his actions he demonstrated the gospel to me.