4 Simple, Wonderful Ways to Personalize Your Special Event

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Whether you are planning a birthday party, baby shower, reunion or wedding it’s essential to make it a personal experience for everyone involved. It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing party ideas in the world – if you plan a pirate birthday party for a child that has zero interest in pirates, that party will be a flop. The key is to design the event as an extension of the person that you are creating the event for. It doesn’t matter what type of event you are planning, personalization really is the key. Read on for my 4 favorite simple tips for personalizing a special event that everyone will remember.

1. Pick a Theme

Regardless of the event, having a theme in mind is a great place to start. By theme, I don’t necessary mean picking a cartoon character for a children’s birthday party or deciding to throw a Hawaiian style baby shower. Rather than focus on one particular idea, focus on the feeling you are trying to convey. For example, if you are going to be throwing a princess party for your daughter’s 5th birthday – skip the traditional Disney themed paper goods and party balloons and decorate your living room or backyard to resemble a castle or enchanted forest. Another idea is if you are hosting a school reunion choose a movie theme – ask each guest to dress up as their favorite movie star from that year. You can get your guests excited by using movie tickets for the event invites, and carry that movie star theme throughout the party using matching place-cards, popcorn bags, miniature candy bars with personalized wrappers and you could even give out drink tickets too!

2. Simple is Best

After you have picked a theme, I recommend choosing a particular area to decorate for the event. If you are hosting the birthday party at home, skip decorating the entire house with streamers and balloons and stick to a centralized location where you can get really creative. For example, if you are hosting a fairy birthday party, use fabric and craft paper to transform every day household items into toadstools or trees. Have your child pick their favorite woodland stuffed animals to place throughout the scenery and utilize items that you already have at home. It’s amazing how a simple dark bed-sheet with a slit cut down the front, hung from the ceiling can automatically become a cave in an enchanted forest that little ones can climb inside of!

3. Food for the Mood

I am not a fan of traditional party food – I really like to personalize the food to fit into the theme. For example, several years ago I hosted a bug and reptile party for my son and instead of simple stacking sandwiches on a plate, I ordered a 5 foot sandwich that I cut and arranged to look like a snake – complete with olive eyes and a red pepper strip for a forked tongue. Not only were the children completely smitten with the snake sandwich, the parents raved about it for weeks to come whenever they would see me! The idea is to take ordinary food that your guests will love and display it in a fun, new, creative way.

4. A Thank You is Worth a Thousand Words

Even though an event is created to celebrate a particular person, couple or group – I like for the guests to feel important and go home with a reminder of the event. I always send each guest home with a personalized gift that fits well into the theme of the party. I also take careful consideration when it comes to party favors to pick something that my guests will actually use or consume. Many times this will mean that I send them home with a personalized treat – for example a bag of caramel corn complete with their name printed on the outside of the package. Or, at my wedding, I picked a hardbound book for each of my guests and left them a handwritten message inside the cover thanking them for celebrating this special day with myself and my new husband. They were a huge hit and people still talk about them 15 years later! You could also personalize a bottle of wine for each member of your wedding party – as a thank you gift.

Image credit DigitalArt via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Use Goal Posters to Motivate Yourself and Your Team

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Can you believe we are almost a whole month into the new year? Are you and your team still on track to reach all of those goals that you made? If you are having a hard time staying motivated to reach those goals or you have a team that is floundering – you may want to consider adding goal posters to your motivation tactics.

Goal posters are fantastic for both personal and work specific goals and you can use them in a variety of ways.  For example, if you are running a local animal shelter that has a goal of placing a certain amount of dogs and cats into new homes this year – a goal poster is a great way to lay out those goals in a visual form. Our goal posters come in a set of 10 so you could give each member of your team or volunteer staff a poster. Then, let them have the creative freedom to customize it with 5 things they would like to do to help the animals find new homes this year. When they are finished, they can place the posters throughout the shelter as a daily reminder of these goals and mark off those goals that they reach throughout the year, celebrating those achievements as a team.

Another idea is for sport’s coaches and team captains to utilize goal posters to individually motivate the members of their team. The posters can be personalized with your team’s name and photo for that added fun touch! Then, you can give each team member a goal poster to add their own sports related goals to, then help them choose a reward they will receive once their goal is hit. Whether their goal is to practice basketball for 1 hour each day, practice their swim strokes or complete 5 marathons this year – a goal poster can really motivate and remind them of their progress. They could hang the poster inside their gym locker or you could even line them up on the wall inside the gym where they will see them everyday as they practice their sport. It’s a great visual reminder of their goal and their teammates can congratulate them when they reach their specific milestones.

The idea is to let each individual choose their target goals, encourage them to write them down on a goal poster as a daily reminder of what they want to achieve. Don’t forget to verbally motivate and congratulate them on the progress! It’s a great way to boost morale and feel more confident about achieving their goals too. It is even more exciting when they reach those milestones since those around them will see their goal posters, the achievements they have made and can join in on congratulating them on their success which in turn motivates them to work even harder and set more goals for the future!

5 Super Sweet Ways to Use Gift Tags as Valentines

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, making now the perfect time to start getting your valentine’s list and ideas together. I am a huge fan of valentines that don’t require a lot of time or energy to put together. However, I am looking for valentines that aren’t only simple – they need to be cute, fun and memorable.

This year I was also looking for fun valentine’s not only for my son’s classmates and teachers, but valentines that could double as a sweet surprise for my own child and husband. I also needed to come up with a valentine idea that could be used at my son’s school dance to raise funds for their class trip.

I immediately thought of adorable gift tags – not only are they completely customizable, but I love the generous size, affordability (40/$15), versatility (you can view your finished design before you order) and cute designs too. Here is a peek at how I plan to use these cute gift tags this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Class Valentines

    My son is planning to give a stack of colored pencils to his classmates – by tying them up with a personalized gift tag for each child, the valentine will be more personal and fun!

  2. Teacher Valentines

    My son is giving each of his teachers a hand-painted tote bag complete with supplies for their classrooms. This gift is taken to a whole new level when finished with a personalized gift tag with the teacher’s name on it and a special note from my son.

  3. Secret Surprise

    I love to tuck special surprises into places that my son can find throughout the day on Valentine’s Day. I plan to add a cute personalized gift tag inside his backpack, lunchbox and coat pocket – each tied to a special valentine treat!

  4. Husband’s Need Love too!

    I also love to surprise my husband on love day – instead of giving him a traditional Valentine’s Day card; I plan to surprise him with tickets to a comedy show. I plan to wrap a gift tag around the tickets instead of a card and since these gift cards are a generous size (2.75 “x 4.25”) it leaves me a lot of room to write in a special message to my special man.

  5. School Dance Fundraiser

    My son’s class is raising funds for their end of school class trip. We decided to sell personalized gift tags (we ordered designs that both boys and girls will adore) and tied them to roses and small boxes of chocolate. The children will be able to purchase the treats for special delivery throughout the week of Valentine’s Day and during the dance as well.

4 Steps to Using Fundraising in Your Home or Classroom to Reach Common Goals

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When you hear the word fundraising – what is the first thing that comes to mind? Usually, you are bombarded with that dreaded feeling that your child’s school is trying to get you sell items to fund a special project or initiative. And while school fundraising does have its purpose, have you ever thought of the impact it could have on your family or students if you used fundraising to motivate them to reach common goals?

I am not talking about selling popcorn to everyone in your office or sending the children door-to-door to sell wrapping paper. I am suggesting that you use fundraising as a way to motivate your family or students to complete desired tasks and reach common goals together as a team. The concept is the same as traditional fundraising, however the objective is entirely different. Read on for my favorite tips for using fundraising to motivate your family or students to reach a common goal and the necessary steps to keep them on track.

1.    Choose Your Goals

Gather your group, whether it is your family or your students and discuss the goals that you want them to reach together. I think it is amazing to choose goals that your group will benefit from now as well as in the future. This is really an opportunity for a discussion – whether your goal is to decrease screen time hours, get more exercise or eat healthier for your family or turning in all homework on time, committing to community service hours or working quietly and independently for a designated time each day for your students – the objective is the same, to reach a common goal that is beneficial to the group as a whole.

2.    Pick Your Prizes

Once your group has outlined the goals that they want to work towards in the coming weeks, it’s time to pick prizes to add a little extra motivation. For family goals, a great prize is a year-end family vacation, a fun item for the home that everyone will enjoy or a joint prize that the family can enjoy together such as an annual pass to the local amusement or water park. For students, one of their favorite prizes includes free time, think a week’s worth of no homework, or a year-end pizza or pajama party. Remember, the prize has to be a big enough deal to your group to get them excited to participate or your fundraising will fail.

3.    Organize It

Once you have designated your group goals and picked the prizes that you want to work towards, it’s important to organize all of that information in one place. I recommend a large dry erase fundraising thermometer that can be placed in a central location where your family or students will see it on a daily basis. If you are setting this up at home for your family, I suggest the kitchen or family room. If you are setting this up in your classroom, then I would position it front and center where your students will see it throughout every day.

4.    Get them Excited!

I recommend gathering your group together at least once a week to add their progress to the thermometer together. Give the children the opportunity to fill the thermometer in with a dry erase marker. Get them excited by talking about how much further they have to go to reach their goal and how far they have already come. Then, discuss ways that they can reach their goal more quickly and ways that have been hindering their success. I also think it is a great idea to keep your fundraising goal at the top of your group’s minds by periodically discussing their progress throughout the week. Also, congratulating them on a routine basis for their progress so far is great for morale. The idea is to keep it simple, fun and at the top of their minds!

How have you engaged a group to reach their fundraising goals – do you have tips you could share? Your comments support us all!

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