Thursday, August 21, 2014

Grad/Goodbye Party

We have been in major party planning mode over here and as much fun as it was, I'm glad it's over.  Phew, parties aren't for wimps!

My friend Kristi, who has twins Garrett's age, has been a friend since we met in first grade (for the boys).  The boys, while their interests have varied over the years still remain friends and we have a similar circle of friends.  So when I approached her 6 months ago about a joint party, she loved the idea.  The only decision we made was to hold off till the end of summer before many of the kids head off to college.  We had several ideas, but we kept coming back to the fact that we wanted the boys to love what we did.  And one thing about our boys and their friends is they love good food.  So pizza was not going to cut it.  We researched food trucks (they all seem to be big fans of these type of shows on the Food Network) and we found this one-lots of great review on Yelp.
I have to say, we initially decided that this fit the bill for boy food, but it was better than awesome. The tater tots...yummo!  It was kind of fun just watching people go up and order what they wanted.  This was definitely different from any other party we have been to.

The boys could probably care a less about decorations, but Kristi and I did.  The party was initially planned for the backyard, but then we decided with food truck out front, to turn my driveway into the party area.  We strung lights between our garages and then added the Japanese lanterns.  The pictures don't do it justice, it really looked great.  On the garage door on the left, we hung a banner (all printables from Amanda's Parties To Go) and then I had 4 group pictures of the boys and their friends blown up as 2x3 foot engineer prints ($3.59 @ Staples-such a deal!).  On the front porch we hung two vinyl banners of the boys.  Wish I had a picture, but they were kindergarten pictures of the boys next to grad pictures of them.  Got a great deal on the banners too, maybe $11 for both.
We rented 3 round tables with chairs for the garage and then 5 cocktail tables.  Loved the cocktail tables.  People could put their food down and then move from place to place.  Party started at 6:30, it was a really warm day, but the sun was starting to go down and it was a perfect evening.

Table decor-  Kept it simple with a mason jar of flowers and the banners.  I found those white wooden paper clips at Michaels and added some Washi tape along the bottom to add some color.  We put pictures of the boys from when they were younger.

Inside was all the dessert.  Kristi had a chocolate fountain and put together a great spread of food to dip.  This was a big hit with the teens.
And no party would be complete without cake.  We got the cupcakes from Safeway and I put the grad picks in them and the cake from from a local place.  It was excellent.

Just this week, several of Garrett's friends left for college so this may have been the last get together for many of these kids for awhile. I think we had about 75 people here, but since it was mostly outside, my house looked pretty amazing the next day. I think Garrett was pretty impressed by what we pulled off and it was a great night.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Muai '14

So Maui is now one for the memory books.  It's been just about a month since we went.  We have been to Wailea twice before and while we love that area of the island, we keep trying different hotels trying to find the one that fits our family best.  This year, we settled on the Kei Lani Fairmont and ding ding ding, we have a winner.  It's a beautiful property with a great beach.  The pool doesn't have the same wow factor as the Grand Wailea.  But, it's a smaller, more intimate property.  No need to go stake at chairs as soon as you wake up.   We stayed in the villas-2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms-worked perfect for us.   And here is the view from our villa. And here is the view from the back of our villa-
Just to the right of the villa was this hammock-pretty convenient.
And this was also part of the villa.   In the "backyard", there was a plunge pool.  At first I thought it was kind of silly, but we all loved it.  In fact, Jack says his favorite part of the vacation was this little pool and we would walk around and around and create a whirlpool.
We did spend plenty of time at the main pool.  Best day was renting a cabana and just having a relaxing day.

We did 3 excursions on a boat.  The first was a sunset cruise.  We do this every year.  This year the catamaran took off from Makenna Beach just down the road.  Jack camped out on the trampoline on the boat.
The next boat was a first.  We chartered a fishing boat.  We weren't out to catch any big fish, just wanted to catch dinner.  It was a great excursion.  We all loved it.  Jack caught the most, lucky boy.  The best part is they bagged up the fish and we took them to the chef at Ko restaurant which is at the Fairmont.  And here is our dinner that evening-tuna and blue striped snapper.

We also spent a day snorkeling.

And just coincidence, but we got to celebrate another anniversary on our favorite island?  23 years-that's the year of sand, right?

Morgan brought along her go-pro, so here's our family vacation is 3 minutes. (link, if embedded video not visible )
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