I’m kicking off a new summer series called FRIEND FRIDAY today!

I love lists and I love pretty things. I love keeping a tidy home – this happens approximately 50% of the time, as in, when everyone else is sleeping – and coming up with new ways to make things work efficiently for our family. (This is no easy task because our family schedule is WEIRD). I also love new ideas, and I have a brand new baby idea approximately every fourteen minutes. WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO WHILE YOU WASH THE DISHES AND CHANGE THE DIAPERS? When the idea for this little project emerged, I knew it was a keeper. Initially, I thought of this while I was re-organizing my family’s command center. I was having so much fun dreaming up the most efficient use of 15 square inches of space (our kitchen is small, y’all) and I was texting a friend about it and she was like… “that sounds like a complete nightmare but also I want one so maybe I’ll just copy yours” and my little file-folder shaped heart skipped a beat.

Nightmare to her = fun project to me. So, I give you Friend Friday! I reached out to a few of my closest friends and asked how I could help them get organized, and this series will showcase what we came up with. This was a really meaningful project for me because I know and love the people who will be using these products. It has been so fun to create these designs with specific personalities and lifestyles involved!

First up, Jessica! My good friend Jess and I met initially when we were volunteering together at our church’s student ministry program. We didn’t connect there right away, but a couple of years later, a mutual friend started a small group for young families and we both started attending. I’ll tell you more about this amazing group another time – today’s all about Jess! This lady is all about some FUN. She loves the beach, polka dots, and throwing parties. She’s always first to volunteer to host baby showers (and there have been NINE babies born in our small group in the past 3 years, so she’s had plenty of opportunities), and she never spares a detail. When she’s hosting a party, though, Jess has an extra challenge because her family is HUGE – and they THROW. DOWN. Have you ever attended a baby shower for 200 guests? I have. It was Jessica’s.

So, girlfriend REALLY loves to throw a good party, and always has a huge guest list to accommodate, and she’s found herself a bit short on spare time recently because she just had two babies 12 months apart. I’ll just let that sink in for a bit… yup. Two babies in twelve months. They are the cutest little girls in the world and they are going to be best buddies growing up, but their sweet mama does NOT have time (or brain space, hello!) to be keeping track of all the details it takes to host a party.

So, when I reached out to her asking if she had any organizational needs, she asked if I could make something to help her plan a party with minimal stress. YES. Love it! I love a good party, and I L-O-V-E Jess’ parties, so if I can help her smooth out the planning process, I am all about it.

Here’s what we came up with:

The first page is all about planning the big picture and an outline (with general deadlines) for when certain tasks should be completed. The second page is for focusing in on details,  meal planning, and creating a shopping list (so you don’t have to make 83 trips to the store for one event, or am I the only one who has done this before??). The last page has a cleaning checklist, room for miscellaneous notes, and (I think) one of the most overlooked aspects of party planning: an oven schedule!

You probably think I sound like a total goof, and, okay, that’s valid, but is the cooking NOT the thing that’s most likely to throw you off the deep end the day of a big party?? I love to cook and I love parties but things get crazy. After many party fails, I’ve learned that the night before I host any kind of gathering, I ALWAYS need to sit down with a pen and notepad and plan out the timing of the cooking for the next day. When you have four or five dishes that need to go in the oven for different lengths of time at different temperatures AND you’re trying to stay on top of all the other party day details, it’s no wonder the baking can cause so much stress! If you plan well ahead of time, everything will be hot and ready at the same time, and you’re a lot less likely to accidentally over/undercook something if you have the exact times already written down someplace accessible.

ENOUGH ABOUT THE OVEN SCHEDULE THOUGH, this whole thing will seriously simplify your party planning – you will be able to clearly think through the important stuff first, find all your important details in ONE place, and seriously cut down on unnecessary trips to the store.

Jess, I had a blast putting this together for you! Party on, mama!

Download the free PDF by clicking here!

Kelsey