Thursday, August 7, 2014

Neighborhood Party 2014

Last summer I made the mistake of offering a suggestion about our neighborhood block party and low and behold...I am now the organizer/hostess of the neighborhood party forever. Our block party has struggled with low attendance and also I never felt like it seemed very welcoming having it in a hot, windy street (our neighborhood is new and there are very few shade trees). So I took it upon myself to host the party this year at my home. I consider it a huge blessing that I have a beautiful home to share with others and I do not mind opening it up at all. I was hoping this would seem more welcoming and friendly to our neighborhood. 

I chose August 5th as the date because it is National Night Out and that is when communities typically hold block parties. It also just gave me a solid date I could land on so I didn't have to get wishy washy about what days work best for people. When dealing with a large group of people, there is no magical date or time that will work for everyone and some people just plain won't come no matter what. I heard lots of comments that people enjoyed having it on a weeknight. We have great shade in our backyard after 5 so it was a perfect time of day. 

I tried to spruce up our back patio by moving some of my pots down from the deck and they were nice bright spots of color. I also grabbed this tip of having extra garbage cans on hand (and labeling them) to set out for parties- something I had never thought of before! 

When we first built our house almost 8 years ago, there were no little kids in the neighborhood and that has changed a lot- it seems like there are lots of young families now with kids that are in elementary school and younger. So I wanted to have something for the kids to do other than just running around in the street. I rented a bounce house from the local hardware store and the association graciously paid for it. It was a hit! It was reasonably priced and two very nice boys came out to set it up and take it down. I also had a built your own marshmallow shooter station but I think most of the kids just had fun playing with the balloons and eating the marshmallows. 

People came in the front door to sign in and then we had food out in the basement to hopefully keep flies away. We covered our ping pong table with tablecloths and it made a good serving area for the buffet. I cooked up hot dogs for everyone and everyone else pitched in with sides and desserts. It was a warm evening so we had the A/C cranked and lots of people enjoyed visiting in the basement which is fine with me. 

Most people were very shocked that I wanted to have the party at my home and honestly it is no big deal for me to host a big group of people in my home. As I said before, we realize our home is a huge blessing to us and we feel like it is part of our responsibility to bless other people with our hospitality. However, I am glad we have indestructible tile floors in our basement- I would definitely be freaking out about carpet or hardwood! 

 The weather turned out to be really nice around 7:30 with a little breeze and cooler temps. We held an informal association meeting outside and people seemed like they enjoyed meeting new neighbors and catching up with old ones. We had a good turn out of about 50 people or about half the homes in our neighborhood (which is about 6 blocks). I know that we are planning on staying in our home forever and we are lucky to live by some of the nicest people ever. It is a big blessing and I hope that the party was a blessing to my neighbors and friends. 

This was one of the last major things on my agenda before the baby girls arrive and it is safe to say I survived! I am still dealing with a sore pelvis, back and legs two days later but it was just a ton of running around for me. The biggest parts of getting ready for the party was just making sure the yard looked good and it has been badly neglected all year. Hopefully everything is smooth sailing for the next 4 or so weeks until the girls arrive! 

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