For the past few years, we have hosted New Year’s Eve parties for our group of friends. They have ranged from small gatherings to huge fundraisers for our Kiwanis Club. Since it’s sort of become a tradition, we start brainstorming well in advance for possible themes. For our 2016 New Year’s Eve party, we felt that our crew may find a more relaxed, informal gathering appealing. We decided to have a slumber party – for grown ups.
What are your slumber party essentials? I think mine are:
- junk food
- cute pajamas
- pillow forts
Pizza is another obvious essential. Since the party didn’t get started until late in the evening, we made (grown-up) pizzas for dinner while we were getting ready. For party time, we made many colorful desserts, and friends brought cheesy snacks, chips and salsa, popcorn… basically all the most delicious foods. New Year’s Eve seems like the perfect time to over-indulge on all the best candy and snacks. Although that statement would suggest that I stopped eating junk on January 1st as part of some kind of “resolution” or something. Ha. No. ?
Now, for these sodas I speak of, regular old store bought soda pop was too predictable and boring. “Grown-up” slumber party could also be translated to “upgraded” slumber party. So we upgraded our sodas by using homemade syrups that our friends could mix with club soda (and spirits, if desired). Cola syrup recipe via Serious Eats, and Cream Soda syrup recipe via Martha. ? I added the citrus syrup to round out our options, and that one I just kind of made up. So I shall share it with you all, at the bottom of this post. ?
In addition to the fun games, I included an activity that was inspired by my sister- and brother-in-law. Over the Christmas holiday, they asked everyone a few questions that helped us all reflect on the year we had. I thought it was such a neat concept that I had my sister Amy help me turn it into a Reflection/Resolution activity. Amy wrote (beautifully) on several pieces of card stock, and we laid them out during the party for people to use as discussion starters.
I loved hearing about everyone’s favorite parts of 2015, as well as their plans and hopes for 2016. We didn’t write anything down since it was pretty informal and free-form, but I think it would be interesting to take notes and then do this year after year. I’d love to see how priorities, preferences, and plans change over time.
Here’s our full list:
- one interesting thing you learned
- the best gift you received this year
- a skill you gained or improved
- your favorite purchase
- a new friend you made this year
- the best movie you saw
- your favorite song released this year
- a person you grew closer to this year
- your favorite meal
- the best book you read
- the biggest change you experienced
- a habit you’d like to break
- a habit you’d like to pick up
- a person you want to get to know better
- a space you’d like to organize
- a goal you’d like to accomplish
- a place you want to visit
- a big purchase you plan to make
What questions would you add? Hit me up in the comments; it’s never too early to put in a calligraphy order with Amy for next year.
Quite possibly my favorite part of the night was building (and then subsequently sitting/laying/drinking/reflecting in) our fort made of sheets. Amy and I have been building forts for nearly two decades. In fact I still have a full set of encyclopedias that we use to hold the corners of the sheets down. That’s unfortunately about all those encyclopedias are good for anymore, but I can’t bear to part with them. And my nostalgia proved very beneficial that night, as many heavy books (and chip clips, and safety pins, and pieces of twine) were necessary to construct our masterpiece.
Now, one crucial part of a slumber party was missing at our house: a parent to make an awesome breakfast for you in the morning. I suppose at a “grown-up” slumber party, you make your own breakfast. Good thing we’re awesome at breakfast.
Anthony was a waffle-making MACHINE, cranking out plain buttermilk and rich chocolate waffles faster than we could eat them. Out of various topping options, my faves were chocolate waffle + berries + whipped cream and plain waffle + warm apple compote (made that morning) + maple syrup.
Chels made cheesy potatoes, which would be my last meal request if I ever end up on death row. ? And of course we had eggs and bacon and juice and all the essentials. Though only eight actually spent the night, most guests came back in the morning to enjoy brunch together. Some ate at the table, some in the fort.
I loved eating all those tasty treats. I loved seeing everyone in their PJs. I REALLY loved being a part of Chelsea’s first fort-building experience. But most of all I loved the relaxed feel of this party. It was really one of the easiest parties we’ve ever thrown. Maybe that’s because we’re often so focused on being fancy and perfect and “Pinterest-worthy,” and this slumber party was just about hanging out and having a great time with friends. Which is really what all parties should be. There could be a lesson here…
As promised, here’s a recipe for your own citrus syrup. It’s pretty basic: just make a simple syrup but throw a bunch of fruit in there while you’re dissolving the sugar.
Citrus Soda Syrup
- 2 cups granulated cane sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 blood oranges
- 2 lemons
- 2 limes
Slice the fruit 1/2 inch thick and then cut off peel and pith. Add to sauce pan, then add sugar and water. Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Muddle fruits slightly to release juices. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before straining.
Mix 1 part syrup with 2 parts club soda over ice (or alter for your desired flavor/sweetness ?).