Thinking about grad parties

In our neck of the woods it's pretty typical to host an open-house-type party in honor of the graduating senior. My girls have never been ones to turn down a party, so last year I threw my inaugural graduation party, and this year . . . it's a second annual kind of event -- meaning child number two is up at the proverbial graduation bat. These are the types of things that happen when you have kids 15 months apart. 

Last year I searched the Interwebs repeatedly for the "best graduation party ever." Surprisingly, I didn't find a whole lot. I did buy the Martha Stewart Living issue which featured a neon and neutrals grad party. That Martha -- her ideas are awesome, but she always forgets that I'M NOT RICH. Still, we took the neons and neutrals and ran with it.

[Please disregard the orange paint in the dining room. I really need to redo that but I'm too busy buying things I don't need from Target.] 

[Please disregard the orange paint in the dining room. I really need to redo that but I'm too busy buying things I don't need from Target.] 

Martha's folks had the clever idea to hang up a giant diploma-like roll of craft paper, leaving space for friends to fill it up with well wishes on florescent-colored post-it notes. This was great fun, particularly toward the end of the night when Jordan's friends went crazy with the post-its, labeling everything in site. The piano was labeled 'piano.' The table 'table.' I got a note reading 'Jordan's mom,' and so on. That's what 13 years of public education gets you.

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The tissue poms and tassle garland I purchased from Studio Mucci on Etsy. She let me pick my own colors, and since I didn't want to deviate from Martha's prescribed neons and neutrals, her flexibility worked splendidly. (Repeatedly writing neons and neutrals is making me think of blush and bashful. Movie reference anyone?)

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For food I went completely with desserts. I, along with my mom, sister-in-law, and a phalanx of friends, baked until the very AIR was laced with sugar. I know Texas isn't technically "the South," but we still hold strongly to two southern principles: everything is better with sugar AND running out of food at a soiree is completely unacceptable. In response to my upbringing then, I made WAY too many desserts. 

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Guys, my girls and I did some serious push pop graduation hat construction. I really hoped that visitors would take a push pop or two home as a reminder of a lovely evening. In actuality people were reticent to mess up the display. When I realized that the pops were essentially abandoned, I started dashing about handing them out like a mad woman. I was a pop pusher. I can't deny it.

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Probably the smartest thing I did was hire Amy's Ice Cream to some set up shop on the back patio. Amy's provided three flavors, toppings, and an ice cream man to do the heavy dipping. The ice cream was fun and having an attraction outside kept people moving through the house. Flow, when it comes right down to it, is also a party essential.

So now? On to Madison's party. I'm thinking I really like this idea. Or maybe a variation of this. Or, if I started preparing right now and worked round the clock until Maddie's graduation in June, I could possibly pull off something like this. Or maybe not. What about you guys? Any graduation ideas out there?