Monday, September 12, 2016

Back to School Fiesta

We hosted a back to school fiesta for Kevin's students a few weeks ago.  It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed hosting them.  It's an exciting milestone for us to be hosting students as the professor and his family.  We spent 10 or so years being graduate students while Kevin was working on his PhD so it's fun to reach the point where he's doing the job he's always wanted to do.

We picked a date that worked for everyone, asked for any dietary preferences and then told his students to just show up.  They were all friendly, sweet and seemed to appreciate a home cooked meal.  A few of them had just moved to town and the others have been here for a bit.  It was nice to get to meet everyone to kick off the school year.

Our fiesta menu worked out perfectly!  Kevin and I both enjoy hosting so we divided up duties and everything came together really well.  Here are my tips for making it easy on yourself to host a fiesta:

1. Chop many things ahead of time - lettuce, olives, carrots, peppers, onions, etc. - and put the items in the bowls you'll be serving them in.  It'll be so easy to pull them out when the meal is ready.

2. Prepare your meat in advance.  Marinate early and brown ground beef with seasoning so that you just have to do some last minute reheating.  We did the beef the night before and Kevin grilled the chicken right before the party.

3. Provide Appetizers.  Make them easy & set them out right before guests arrive.  We served chips and salsa/guac and carrots sticks with hummus.  Both were enjoyed.

4. Set your table before guests arrive.  If you don't have pets or small children you could probably do this step the night before your party.

5. Make your dessert the day before.  We served Monster Cookies.  They are our favorite cookie and everyone loved them.  It was so nice to to have to worry about whipping up a dessert at the last minute.

6. Set up a drink station.  We put out everything our guests would need in one spot - ice, cups, straws, drinks, cokes, napkins, etc.  Label alcohol options so that everything is crystal clear to your guests.

7. Fresh flowers.  Pick up fresh flowers and assemble your own bouquets to save lots of money.  I picked up a $4.97 bouquet of carnations at Wal-Mart and a $2 bouquet at Meijer.  

8. Put away your pets.  Few people will love your pets as much as you do so it's best to keep some distance especially for first time guests.  We have two cats - one is uninterested in guests and the other makes a complete fool of himself when we have guests.  So we made sure they were both put away when our guests arrived to avoid any awkward encounters or them jumping in the middle of our table during dinner.

 The boys did the outside food prep and I did the inside stuff.

Kevin enjoys making mixed drinks so he prepared a mint mojito for everyone.  It was really tasty so I asked him to share the recipe with y'all today.
1 bottle of Rose's Traditional Mojito Cocktail Mix
7oz White Rum
*add fresh mint leaves for fun
*splash of club soda for a bit of carbonation

The cookies were pretty and delicious!

Hope you get the chance to host a fiesta of your own sometime soon!!
Tell me your best party hosting tips :)


  1. What a fabulous fiesta!!! A taco bar is one of my favorite ways to feed a big crowd!! I have to tell you- being NOT a big animal lover myself- I appreciate your entertaining tip of putting your animals away while people are over:) and finally- even though it's only 8 am...I could totally go for one of those mojitos!! Ha! They look so refreshing!! :)

  2. Well done, Whitmey! What a blessing you are to those students!! Thanks for the mojito recipe, too :-)

  3. Oops! I'm sorry for the misspelling of your name - silly small phone screen 🙄

  4. Great tips! Everything looks wonderful and I'm sure Kevin's students were so appreciative. When I was in college, I remember how nice it was to be invited into someone's home. Your little green bud vases are so beautiful! I've learned to put the cats in another part of the house for company, for the same reasons. One is terrified and the other just makes herself quite at home. LOL. Thanks for the peek into your party!

    Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort

  5. This looks so bright and cheerful! I love it!!

  6. Oh Mexican food, how I love thee! This is adorably fun and cheerful, love! I'm a mojito lover and get the request to make for family functions often however I'm not ABOUT to squeeze all those limes for a crowd. My crowd fake out mojito recipe is a frozen can of limeade, bottle of club soda, mint and rum. Easy and delicious.

  7. Ahh those cookies! Mexican is perfect for a big get together - love that you guys host a party to welcome back the students. So thoughtful!

  8. So much fun!! I love that y'all host the students for dinner. And prepping before hand is a great way to make everything easy! This is perfect for all sorts of diets and picky eaters!

  9. Great tips Whitney you are such an awesome hostess I have no doubts that your guesta felt loved and welcome. I need to make your monster cookies soon.


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Smiles, Whitney