We hosted a colorful fiesta with a fun game, let me tell you all about it!

July 25, 2023


We had such a fun fiesta in our backyard last week and I'm going to share with you how it came about from beginning to end. The weather, garden, food and the guests were all just perfect and fun was had by all! We especially loved the game we played at the end. Please read on!

This party was for our Second Friday Party Group. A version of this group has been going on for over 45 years! We are 6 couples and 2 singles so if everyone attends, we are 14. We have an unofficial secretary who once or twice a year will send out a sign up sheet. You can imagine that the summer dates are pretty popular and I was lucky to snag the July thinking I would have a BLT party, but as the cold spring dragged on, I realized our tomatoes would not be ready so I made a quick change to tacos because this group loves Mexican food. We all have second Friday blocked out for perpetuity, but a week before I sent out an email asking for attendance numbers. When I know how many are coming, I choose the main dish, tacos and chicken enchiladas for this party, and send out sign ups for appetizers, sides and dessert. With our potlucks, we usually have a theme and ask guests to plan around that theme. This is what my friends came up with: two appetizers, salsa and chips and guacamole and chips. On the buffet, next to the the build-your-own taco bar and the chicken enchiladas that I made, were a corn and avocado salad, refried beans, and Mexican spoon bread. I asked for ice cream bars or ice cream sandwiches for dessert so I could cut down on using another set of plates and forks and my friend brought It's Its! For a long time It's Its were a local San Francisco Bay Area treat, but I understand now they are available nationwide, as they should be! Best ice cream sandwich ever.

The garden was at it's most magnificent bloomy best and so...

...I did not have to skimp on the flowers!

Two days before the party I did the grocery shopping and made sure I had enough wine and beer. I also hung up my knitted bunting which was perfect for a fiesta. The day before the party I made the pan of enchiladas and prepped the taco fixings: spicy ground beef, chopped tomatoes and lettuce, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I also set out all my glassware, plates, serving pieces, cutlery, vases, tablecloths and napkins and checked to see if everything was clean, and decided the glasses could do with a run through the dishwasher. The morning of the party I picked oodles of flowers and made six blousy and colorful informal arrangements; a big one for the drinks table and five smaller arrangements for the dinner tables and to place around the house. If you don't have a flower garden, grocery store flowers are pretty amazing these days and a great bargain. I then gathered up all my knitted blankets and stacked them on an outdoor table. I love it when it gets cold and I get to pass them around, but unfortunately the weather was perfect and they were unused! Later in the day I set the tables, then took a shower and we waited for our guests. 

I love using my glass canning jars for the vases when I entertain outdoors. I love their casual vibe and their sturdiness. I have my grandmother's jars, a very practical inheritance I must say, and use them daily for making pickles, storing dry goods, and for pretty arrangements too! They come in every size imaginable and are some of the most used storage containers in my kitchen.

We served Mexican beer and wine on a table set up near the vegetable garden. I made several pitchers of wine spritzers (one part wine, one part sparkling water) and that ended up being the most popular before dinner drink. I put water glasses on the dining tables and filled them just before dinner, then everyone brings their wine glass to the table. This cuts down on the glassware. I used to hire help when I entertained 12 or more, but with our casual group I don't feel the need to as we are all easy-going about the party routines.

When the party's over, our group is a well trained bunch. When it's time to go, whoosh, everyone clears the tables. In minutes, everything is scooped up and taken inside, including the tablecloths and even take away their serving dishes unwashed; it's just easier for the hostess that way. After the guests have left, we put away leftovers if any, then put one load in the dishwasher, put the napkins and tablecloths in the washing machine, and then head for bed. The next day there is one more dishwasher load to do, the tablecloths to go in the dryer then folded and put away, then a few little other tidying up chores to do, and then there you go, the party is officially over!

A combination of dahlias and dinner plate dahlias.

Now let me tell you about those party poppers. They weren't exactly poppers because I didn't have any snappers inside, but they each did have candy and a question inside. I got the idea that I wanted to have some kind of Mexican looking decoration and I don't know why this popped into my head, but it did. I looked in my DIY stash, and yep, I had everything I needed except I only had three TP rolls (found in my grandson's craft stash) and I needed 12. I sent a text to my neighbors: "Help, urgently need 9 TP rolls for a craft ASAP. Please check your recycling and retrieve what you can. Thank you." No questions were asked, they all know me by now and my odd requests, and within minutes I had the 9 I needed. Thank you dear neighbors. The next hour had me happily employed making my 12 poppers with candy and questions inside. I have a DIY at the end of the post, but here's examples of a few of the questions I put inside:

What’s the best TV show of all time?

If you could add an extra month to the calendar, where would you place it? (That was my question and a no brainer for me. Naturally I would put a new month in between July and August!)

What one place should everyone visit before they die? (This and the next one offered up some lively conversation!)

If you could dine with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?

If you could have the voice of any famous person, living or deceased, whose voice would you claim as your own?

If you could live in any famous residence in the world (not your own residence!) which one would you pick?

If you could travel to 1800 and take a modern item to impress people, what would you take? (Hy husband got this one. He said he would travel to 1800 in a jet, so that's what he would take, a jet!)

I handed them out towards the end of the evening and it created a half hour of fun conversation!

I'm sorry I didn't get any pictures of the buffet, it's such a mad scramble at dinner time, but this was my leftovers lunch the next day.

Do you know about these taco holders? We use them all the time! I ended up buying 18 for parties just like this but we use them when we are having a taco dinner on our own, plus my grandson loves to play with them, as if he doesn't have enough toys of his own! On one side it holds two tacos upright for filling, but flip it over and it holds three tacos. It's ingenious, right? They are even dishwasher safe.

Here's how I made my poppers. Make cuts on the long end of the tissue paper.

If you had snappers to make them "pop" when you pull them open, this would be the time to add them. If not, then go straight to the next step: print out your questions and cut into strips and fold up. Traditionally the poppers have hats and toys and a joke. I filled mine with candy and one question per popper, but you can fill with anything except confetti. That stuff is the worst to clean up.

Roll it up and tie the ends closed. Decorate as desired, using little things such as tiny pompoms, artificial flowers, or stickers. I downloaded free images, sized them down and printed them out. For a Mexican theme, search for images of Frida Kahlo, Day of the Dead, Mexican flowers, etc.

Thank you for dropping by and I hope you enjoyed hearing about my Mexican Fiesta. It certainly is one of the easier parties I have hosted, and definitely the most colorful! I hope this summer you are having opportunities to enjoy some good dinners with good friends. xo Kristen

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  1. My modern item would be flush toilets. How could it be anything else???

    1. Oh my gosh, of course! That didn't even come up, but I'm with YOU!

  2. Sorry, that was Chloe.

  3. What a lovely story! How fun, a themed party and love the poppers idea …. It’s always lots of work when entertaining but you made it sound easy! The clean-up sounds like a ‘dream’ and great to have everyone pitch in!

    1. Thank you so much! Clean up is a lot easier if everything is brought into the kitchen and you aren't running back and forth into the garden in the dark to fetch everything! I especially love that we bring our serving dishes home unwashed. It's easier to wash it up at your own home anyway. All these little things we've figured out over the years!

  4. I always wish I could see pics of the guests at these parties. I miss all of you!!!

    1. Oh my gosh Kirsti! How nice to hear from you! Your mom and dad were in that original group so many years ago! What fun we all had, in our twenties and thirties, so young! We only have three original members left, Terry and I and Geoff. It's hard to believe isn't it? I have some original pictures and will search them out and send them to you via email. Hope you and your darling family are well. Annie is 22!

    2. I should add that you would know all of the "new" members too!


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