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Community creativity Fun

a bar of a party

The beginning of April we celebrated our interns who had been with us for a year and who were now moving on to the next season of their lives. Because of their incredible investment, we knew we wanted to celebrate BIG. That’s when the idea of “bars” all around came into being. We had a pizza bar, soda bar, and cupcake bar. It.was.a.blast.

Pizza Bar

Pizza Bar

We sealed pizza dough in plastic baggies and had everything prepped and sliced. The fun part about the pizza bar was that we baked our pies on the fire. They tasted amazing. Here’s how we did it.

  1. Grab a wooden cutting board and oil it down with olive oil.
  2. Plop your dough down on it, and work it into a pizza crust.
  3. Slide it onto the fire, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  4. Take it off the fire, sliding it back onto your cutting board, cooked side up.
  5. Load the cooked side up with your toppings.
  6. Slide it back onto the fire and let it cook another few minutes.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

Pizza Bar Toppings

Soda Bar

Soda Bar

Soda Bar Instructions

For drinks we put together a soda bar. We had Coke and Coke Zero and homemade Cream Soda. THEN people had the option of adding cherry, vanilla, orange, or lemon simple syrup to it. We also had lemons and limes that you could squeeze in for extra measure.

Coke

Cream Soda

Cupcake Bar

Pimp Your Cupcake

Finally, for dessert, we offered a cupcake bar where everyone could pimp out their own cupcake. We had chocolate, vanilla, Italian creme, and red velvet cupcakes with vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, and mocha frostings. Not only that but we had sprinkles, coconut, and nuts for more pimping!

This party was such fun. The best part about it was that everyone cooked their own food!

Africa Community Fun Hospitality

it’s a feast of love

the table

We have a tradition around here. Every October/November we don our best threads and our staff sit down to a feast served by our leadership team here at Ten Thousand Homes (aka Jeremy, myself, and a couple of others). We end the evening by celebrating each other’s talent in the form of a show. It’s fabulous and fun and we leave with full bellies and hearts.

place setting

Every time we put on a gathering, I am reminded just how important these times are. They aren’t optional. They are necessary. They bring us together in a light hearted way to celebrate and laugh, both necessary things when most days feel like your hand is to the plow, and though progress is being made, there’s still always so much to do.

my hot husband

We have a lot of parties here, but we must celebrate together. Come on! {Sorry, felt a little song burgeoning there.}

Africa Community creativity Fun

colour party

color throw

color!

all coloured up

Several weeks ago, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a colour party where we celebrate creativity, diversity, and the many different cultures that make up Ten Thousand Homes?” From there, we started planning a party full of colour with creative outlets galore.

happy hello!

so colourful nice hair

When I showed up to the party, casually late as always, I saw a sea of white. Instructions were followed to a tee. “Come as a blank canvas.” Between the all-white and the coloured kool-aid that our US friends brought over, well, let’s just say that I’m glad no one who didn’t know us showed up. {Kooky…}

The biggest prep for this party was making the colour powder. It wasn’t hard. I just only had so many trays for drying the stuff. I followed this recipe. Super easy! Oh, and it actually did wash out of clothes rather easy. Our other stations included…

twister and prize board

playing twister

  • A Twister game station with a prize punch board for the winners.
  • A painting station with a very cool art piece to paint on created by one of our staff.
painting station

painting

  • A writing station with a real typewriter. People always seem to find those old typewriters super fun.
  • A photo booth station with those cheap, plastic tablecloths as the backdrop.
  • A music station complete with a keyboard, drum, and guitar.
  • A colouring station with good, old fashioned colouring books.
  • A luminary station for creating some outdoor ambiance.

    writing

    Of course, there was dancing, games that involved silliness and shaving cream, glow sticks to adorn ourselves, and FOOD! Our friends from the US prepared a fantastic feast of kebabs, both fruit, veggie, and meat, rice, and banana pudding!

    shaving cream game

    We kept decor simple and colourful. Balloons, streamers, buntings, cupcake paper garlands, and polka dot garlands.

    love him

    me and my boy

    So fun. So easy. Lots of laughs. Lots of smiles. That’s what it’s all about!

    Community creativity Fun

    a valentine’s party

    Valentine's Table

    Last week my special events team and I put on a Valentine’s Party. It was meant to be simple, but I’ve realized that I have a hard time doing simple. I get ideas, and ideas, and more ideas, and of course, once I see something I like, I just can’t not do it. Anyone else like that?

    BoxOfChocolates

    The tables really were simple but quite beautiful, I do believe. White tablecloths, white taper candles, and bougainvillea adorned each table. The place settings were my favorite. What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Love? Flowers? Chocolate? All of the above, right? Each plate was adorned with a box of homemade chocolates for everyone to take home! I used the Mixed Nut Dark Chocolate Truffle recipe from Sweet Confections. Ah-mazing. These are gluten free and sugar free, so they fit my diet! It’s hot here in SA right now, so it was quite the challenge to keep these babies from melting. In this case, it was totally appropriate to consume dessert before dinner!

    FORTUNE

    We also topped each box of chocolate with a paper love fortune cookie. I love giving away things at these parties, and these were going to serve as tickets to a very special drawing! I love having surprises up my sleeve.

    We used this paper folding tutorial to make the fortunes. I typed out 50 love quotes to insert inside. Throughout the night, we drew fortunes and whoever had that one in their cookie won an original piece of art {thanks to the talented Phoebe} that was centered around the theme of love!

    Art

    I didn’t get photos of the food, but the menu consisted of a garden salad, French bread, grilled chicken, and rosemary oven roasted potatoes which we served family style. We skewered strawberries, brownies, and marshmallows for dessert and served it with a side of ice cream.

    LipSinging

    I do believe our 48 guests had a good time which is always the goal. In our line of work, you have to have moments like these that are light where you can kick back, relax your shoulders a bit, and just laugh. There was even some impromptu lip singing that broke out and of course, a dance party, because every party needs to end with dancing, right?

    Africa Community Thoughts

    coming home

    House

    My kids have learned over the years that home is simply where you lay your head. When you travel for a couple of months at a time, it just makes it easier. Still, there is something so refreshing about returning to the place where your bed belongs to none other than you.

    We returned home last Wednesday, but we didn’t just return to our own beds. We came back to family. As I opened my car door, they were there. Lots of them. These people that have no blood relation but carry the bonds of family from a place deep within. As the entourage followed us into our house, I couldn’t believe what greeted me…a beautiful bouquet of flowers perfectly centered on the kitchen table, food in the fridge, chocolate on the beds, and merlot and dark chocolate with sea salt? How did they know the latter two were our favorites? Oh, and did I mention that the house was clean, too? If it weren’t for my travel weary, sleep deprived, foggy brain that could barely will the power to utter complete sentences, I would have burst into tears. How could they know how much this meant to me?

    After everyone unloaded our many bags, Jeremy pulled out his new guitar, the one he got for Father’s Day, the one that two very excited children suggested to the grandparents thinking he might like. I watched that same entourage excitedly gather around as he strummed a few notes, and my heart leapt. These non-blood “relatives” were just as happy for him. Their smiles were evidence of that. Perhaps the African cultural voices were also thinking, “Yes! We got a guitar!”

    Yes, we did get a guitar, but we, Jeremy, Jen, Joshua, and Emma Grace, we have so much more. We have these beautiful people that enrich our lives.

    We have family.