Saturday, March 17, 2012

Minute to Win It Party

If you haven't seen the television show, Minute to Win It, you definitely need to watch it at least once.  It is a game show where contestants must complete random tasks that involve household items, and they have only 60 seconds to do so.  When I was looking for a theme for my next monthly dinner, my cousin recommended this show.  It was such a fun party!! It would be great for a birthday party, couples dinner, or just as excuse to have a party.  Below is how I put my spin on the theme...

Invite:  Create an invitation informing guests that they have been selected as one of the next contestants for the show.  I asked my guests to pair up in a team of two and come dressed in a matching color.  There are some cute invitations (for a birthday with this theme) on the internet for purchase as well.  I found one site that will give you a template for free as well, but I didn't do this, so I don't know how great it is.

Decor:  The show colors are royal blue, red, and white, so I went with that color scheme.  At the front door, I had a table set up with a first game just to enter.  It is called Breakfast Scramble and guests had 60 seconds to put together the front of a cereal box cut into 16 rectangles.  I set out a sand timer for guests to time themselves.

I set my table with a red tablecloth, white plates, and royal blue napkins.  I put two 12x12 pieces of card stock in the center to add color, and then I created a smaller version of the Stack Attack game as my centerpiece. I am providing direct links to these games in case you want to look them up for your party.  I also added some dice to add to the game feel of the table.

At each place setting, I created a label for a water bottle as my place card.  This is not a high-tech label.  I just created it on Microsoft Word.  I can email the template to you if you want to use this for your party.  There are websites that will sell professional-looking labels, but my monthly dinners attempt to be budget friendly (and my friends don't care how cheesy my additions look!).

Menu:  I created a menu card at each place setting so guests could see how I played up the "minute" theme of the night.  We started with a yummy "Minute"-strone Soup as an appetizer.  I served this with a buttery pita bread which is easy and delicious.

My main course was Minute Steak, Minute Rice, and "Minute"-ture Peas! The only issue I had with this choice of meal was the timing.  Some of my guests arrived super late, and this meant items cooked for longer than I intended. Unfortunately, I felt like the Minute Steak was a bit tough and not as tender as it should have been because of this. You may want to think about giving yourself even more time that you think you will need to prevent this from happening.

For dessert, I wanted to serve something with Minute Maid orange juice because this was the only thing I could think of that would still relate to the theme. I searched the internet for something, but couldn't find much.  So...I invented my dessert, and it turned out pretty good.  I have always loved 50/50 bars and shakes, so I decided to make this into a pie.  Yum!  Another thought would be to alter a dessert name like "Minute" (as in Mint) Chip Ice Cream if you wanted something simpler.

Games:  I looked at the Minute to Win It website and tried to choose games I thought looked fun, and that I had the supplies for.  I didn't want to have to spend too much money.  For the games I chose, I did have to purchase some items, but I found everything I needed at the Dollar Tree.  If you are thinking about doing this party, check out the Level for each game to make sure it isn't too advanced - especially if this is for a little kid's party.

To explain the rules of each of the games, I downloaded the blueprints.  The blueprints are the 30 second explanations for each game. I put them all on a DVD in the order of my party along with the 60 second countdown.  I found all the videos on YouTube for free.  One of my old students actually put the DVD together for me, so I am not exactly sure how she did it. Hopefully, you are more technically savvy than I am, and you can figure it out!!

Game #1:  Chocolate Unicorn
Stacking 7 Ding Dongs on your forehead.  They must stay there for 3 seconds.

Game #2:  Tear It Up
Shooting rubber bands at toilet paper attached to an empty soda can.  First team to break the toilet paper wins.

Contestant attaches a banana on a string around his/her waist so it dangles 12" from the ground in front of them. In 60 seconds, they must move an orange across the room and into a hula hoop using only the banana. This is another funny one...lots of thrusting!

Game #4: Ready Spaghetti
The pair of players must work together to transfer 3 empty soda cans to a nearby table using only a spaghetti noodle and their mouths. Try this one out before you do it. We had trouble with the weight of the cans breaking the spaghetti noodle. I would probably use a thicker noodle if I did this again.

Game #5:  Junk in the Trunk
Attach an empty rectangle tissue box around the waist and fill it with 8 ping pong balls.  Contestant must shake their rump to get all the balls out in 60 seconds.  This as hilarious! I've done this game at a high school assembly, and it was a hoot! (Note: I did cut a larger opening in the box just to make it a little easier.)

Game #6: On the Rebound
This is a partner game. One partner ties a clipboard around his waist and stands behind a small trash can. The other partner throws ping pong balls attempting to bank the shot off the clipboard and into the trash can. Team must get 5 balls in.

Game #7:  A Bit Dicey
Contestant must balance 6 die on the popsicle stick held in their mouth.  Stack must stay for 3 seconds.

Favor:  As a parting favor for all guests, I found another Minute to Win It Game, Mega Bubble, and centered my favor around it.  I created a tag with instructions for the game.  Then I just put the supplies, a jar of bubbles and a plastic cup, inside a favor bag and attached the tag.  Simple, but cute.

Again, this was a super fun party and would make a great theme if you are looking for an active party with a hilarious element to it!  I made a scoreboard to keep track of points throughout the evening. Give your winning pair Hundred Grand candy bars or a silly trophy made from household products!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Groundhog Day Dinner

Dinner parties that celebrate holidays are fun, but celebrating the odd holidays is even more fun.  Groundhog day, February 2nd, is no exception.  I just love every year when the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray is played (over and over) on the television. This is why, in 2009, I decided to theme my dinner around this holiday. I kept it simple...

Invitation:  Burn a CD with I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher.  This is the song that is played on the radio each morning when Phil wakes up in the movie.  If you are good with editing, you can even add in the weather broadcast just like the movie.  Create a cover of the CD with all your party details. Or, instead of a weather broadcast, record yourself giving the party details as the music fades.  You can even make several tracks of the same song, so the CD is full of I Got You Babe!  I also asked guests to dress in Groundhog Day colors -- green and white.

Decor:  I bought an inexpensive bright green plastic tablecloth, and created a burrow underneath it in the center with a towel.  I placed a groundhog beanie baby on top as if he just came out of the burrow.  I also used two other groundhogs/squirrels on the table next to bowls of mixed nuts.  I served green punch to keep up the color scheme. I also had the movie playing in the background.

At each place setting, I included a card with trivia about Groundhog Day.  I was initially going to create a game with it, but decided to stick with just an information page.

Not a great photo...sorry!

For my place card, I used a simple craft for kids that I found online on DLTK.  Go to this link for all the directions as well as the template for cutting out the pieces.  I followed the directions and just added each guest's name on the belly of the groundhog.  Even if you are not throwing a party, this is a super cute and easy craft for kids to celebrate Groundhog Day.

Menu:  For my dinner menu, I tried to choose all green or nut-related items.  I also served the appetizer both at the beginning AND the end since Groundhog Day repeats itself!!

Cheese Onion Appetizer

1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped green onion
¼ cup parmesan cheese

Mix first four ingredients.  Spread on Triscuits.  Broil until lightly browned.  Serve immediately.

Green Salad

Nut-Crusted Chicken

6 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
¼ cup orange marmalade
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Combine oil, garlic, and salt.  Brush over chicken and set aside.  In a blender or food processor bowl, blend almonds and pine nuts together just till finely chopped.  Place nuts in a small mixing bowl; stir in coriander, cinnamon, and pepper.  Set aside.  Brush surface of chicken with orange marmalade; sprinkle nut mixture over the chicken, pressing gently so nuts adhere.  Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.
Green Beans

For dessert, I made these groundhog cupcakes which were a huge hit!!  Here is the recipe I found online.  I  only made one change to the recipe for my groundhogs.  I did not use jelly beans or watermelon candy. I just used decorator's frosting in white and pink.  This worked fine for me.

Groundhog Cupcakes

Cupcake Mix
Almond Joy candy bars
Chocolate wafer cookies

Remove a piece of cake the width of an Almond Joy candy from the center of a baked cupcake. Spread a layer of white frosting on the cupcake,
and then set the candy upright in the hole.  For the groundhog's eyes, trim the ends from a white jelly bean, stick them in place with frosting, then dot them with black decorators' gel. Add a tiny triangle cut from a watermelon slice candy for a nose, brown M&M Minis for ears and cheeks, and a tiny rectangular piece of white jelly bean for teeth. Sprinkle chocolate cookie crumbs around the partially emerged groundhog, and he's ready to greet his fans.

This is a super easy theme if you are looking to host a party near February 2nd.  Have fun!