Last night I hosted our FRG coffee group for the first time, and everything seemed to go off without a hitch! Our battalion’s coffee group just formed a couple months ago, and I volunteered on a whim last month to host in November. I’d never been a part of an active coffee group until we got here to Fort Riley, so I was a little nervous about how things should flow. After talking with several of my girlfriends who have experienced all kinds of FRGs (Family Readiness Groups) around the world, I felt more comfortable with hosting.
For invitations we sent out Evites, which allowed the guest list to easily RSVP. I selected five dishes to make and made sure days in advanced that I had the correct platters for everything.
The five dishes I made included mint chocolate chip brownies, a salted caramel cheesecake dip with apples and pretzels (both dessert recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook – get it!), chips and salsa, a fresh fruit salad, and finally my homemade mac and cheese. For drinks I picked up three bottles of wine (one red, one white, and one sweet pink), water, and lemonade.
From what I know about these events (which isn’t very much!), there’s always supposed to be some sort of a small activity. In the past we’ve made take-home sugar scrubs and played a wild game of bunco. After more chit chat with my girlfriends and a quick post in a Facebook group asking for suggestions, I decided to host a “Favorite Things” party, which is something I had seen on Pinterest years ago and couldn’t wait to try!
In the invitation I asked everyone to pick one item around the $5 mark that was one of their favorite things and to then bring three of that one item. For example, if you’re a big fan of Target, please bring three $5 Target gift cards! These items could have been beauty products, food items, games, etc.
After about 45 minutes of eating and hanging out, we went over some official “business” with our FRG leader and then played our game. Everyone put their name on three slips of paper and dropped them into the bowl. One by one, we went around the room explaining our items and why we brought them. Because I’m a serious to-do list maker/planner lover, I purchased three cute weekly planners at Target ($7 each) as my item. After I explained my item I drew three names out of the bowl and those three women each went home with a planner!
Every wife went home with three items and all said they really enjoyed the activity because they not only walked away with great items but they got to know a little more about each other too!
One of the biggest highlights of the night involved my mother-in-law. She had already made plans a couple months back to fly up here to visit us during Hadley’s birthday week next week, but she decided to come a week early to help out with my party.
Because everyone’s husband is deployed, I hated the idea of everyone paying $10+ per hour for a babysitter just so they could come to my event (I know it’s necessary sometimes though), so my MIL volunteered to keep everyone’s children in the basement while the women gathered on our main level. She took care of 13 kids all ages 1-9, and I don’t know how she did it!
Here’s a link to the children’s table and chair set that we love and have gotten several questions about the last few months.
Moms were literally having to drag their kids out of my house because they didn’t want to leave. They all loved my high-energy MIL and had a great time. She changed diapers, made sure everyone was full of snacks, and overall kept all of them happy and safe while we enjoyed a couple of kid-free hours. She definitely earned her wine afterward that night! Ha! I’m so appreciative of the energy she put into helping me and all of my Army girlfriends.
Overall hosting my first FRG coffee group went great, and I would highly recommend a Favorite Thing party for your next event with girlfriends!
Being a part of a community of women who are all in the same boat as I am is extremely comforting. I’ve always said that my favorite part of Jamie’s career is the people it’s brought into my life, and every time I have the chance to get to know a new group of women through the Army I’m continually amazed at how incredible the military community can be.