Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Girls' Night Out Idea: Swap Night!

Swap Night was one of the easiest events that my friend Christy and I have planned this year for our MOPS group. There are all kinds of swaps you can organize: Clothes, Accessories, Kids' Toys, Craft Supplies, etc. We chose to put together a swap for recipes and had a separate room set up for magazines and books.

As I mentioned in my recent post for How to Host a Chick Flick Night at Home, getting your invites out early enough is crucial for giving friends time to plan. If your guest list is small, you could print up some cute little invitation cards to fit the theme of your swap (maybe a purse for accessories, a cute dress, or even a make a bookmark for a book swap). If you're inviting a large number of people, Evite is a great option...especially because people forget to check their Facebook messages or don't have the email option set up. 

Be sure you are very clear about the swap part. I'd hate for a friend to show up and feel out of place because she didn't know about the swap!

Christy hosted this one, and we opted to set up the food on the kitchen island, as we had a small group this time. Drinks went on the counter, and we used her spacious living room to eat and chat. Her husband thoughtfully turned the TV to the all-music channel for us...it was actually a great conversation starter!

We put a little spin on our recipe swap and had a competition! We gave each dish a "place card" with the recipe title on it and let the moms vote on their favorite dish. The winner took home a gift bag with a cookbook, kitchen hand towels, fun spatulas, and Valentine-themed sprinkles.

I didn't win, but I shared an amazing chocolate chip cookie pie recipe that I found online. I added a few "wow" ingredients...hope to share it here soon!

You could limit recipes to desserts or appetizers (or both), but we decided that any dish would be fine, provided it was homemade and not a bag of Doritos.

Planned activities and classes are fun, but Christy and I have learned after a year of planning events that most of the moms really just want a chance to relax and TALK. So we did plenty of that...over plates of delicious food. My meal was mostly desserts, but that's okay. Right? Right?!

We recommend having guests email their recipes before the event. Christy planned on typing up a recipe booklet for each attendee as a "thank you" favor!

Let's not forget the other fun part of the night...the book/magazine swap. I know I'm not the only girl out there with piles of old magazines. I dug through mine and hauled a few bags with me, along with a couple of paperbacks. We set up the "book shop" in Christy's sun room, doing our best to separate magazines and books by genre. For the lone copies of National Geographic and Smithsonian, we set up a "Smart People" section. {wink}

There are lots of ways to organizing the "shopping" portion of the evening. If you have a small group like we did that night, you can let it be a free-for-all and let the moms just take what they want. For a larger group, I'd suggest picking numbers and taking turns choosing an item. Moms who bring a book can choose another book or a magazine. Moms who brought a magazine can choose another magazine for the first round. For the second round, open it up to any item, or just let people choose what they want without taking turns.

I got a new copy of SHAPE magazine, a novel, and an old Good Housekeeping cookbook!

As much as I love the events where we get together and go shopping or come up with a themed party, casual nights where we just enjoy good conversation are just as fun!

Have you ever hosted a swap night?

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  1. Love this idea Amanda!!! The pic of all those yummy desserts was to die for!!! I am going to pin it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Such a cute and NEEDED idea!! Time to startsome planning!! Love the recipe book as a favor idea!! Thanks for the post!!
    :) Christy

  3. I love this idea! I want to try this with wine since we live in Napa. But a girls night out with out spending any money sounds great.

  4. I love the idea of a book or magazine swap. My friend and I are in the process of planning a girls night. We are going to have Bunko and food!

  5. Yep, another great get together idea!! You could do this with just about anything! Jewelry, clothing, LOVE this!!!

  6. I want to do a face plant in that dessert of yours! I hope you share the recipe soon. :-) I loooooove this swap idea, has me thinking of doing one with the ladies at my church! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This looks like so much fun! I love the magazine idea.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. getting my evites ready right now for my first clothing swap...love this book/magazine idea also! that might have to be my next venture if this one goes well!


  9. What a fabulous idea! I am looking for ways to entertain my girlfriends next year, as I will be a new empty nester and will definitely need my gal pals to keep me sane! Sorry I've been a bit lax in commenting...child going through medical testing.

  10. I attended a clothing swap a few weekends back and it was so much fun! Afterwards we were scratching our heads as to what else we could plan a swap around, but I really like the idea of magazines.

    aaand I want your plate right now. That is all. :)

  11. You always do the best stuff with your mom group! I wanna come:) That pie looks sinful...I don't think I need the recipe for it! I love the book/magazine swap idea, and I totally get the whole just wanting to relax and hang out!

  12. Amanda that looks so fun. I am in charge of our moms group at our church (about 85 women) and we struggle to get ladies to attend nights out. How many do you usually get to come?

  13. Your girls night parties always sound like such fun. Tasting all of that good food while enjoying a good conversation sounds like a most enjoyable way to spend an evening.

  14. Thank you for making me laugh out loud...at home...by myself...it wasn't strange at all...when I read "smart people section". Ha! ;)

    I have been "planning" in my mind only, for about 2 years, to do a swap party...probably a "little bit of everything"...home decor, clothes, jewelry...but maybe I should stick to a theme like you all did.

    I love the magazine/book idea. And I REALLY like the food idea. ;)

    Thanks for sharing this and inspiring me to actually get an idea out of my head and make.it.happen. :)

    Gotta get my new curtains sewn - quick! (I work well under pressure. Ha!)

  15. This sounds so fun!

    I love this idea, and it got my wheels spinning...I definitely would like to have a swap night with my girlfriends!!

    Also, the chocolate chip cookie pie looks AMAZING! I hope you do share it soon!

  16. Amanda, I LOVE this idea! I actually just mentioned this as a Mom's Night Out for our steering team at MOPs! It seems like you have a wonderful MOPs group with some great ideas! I believe it was you that I got the idea from for the pancake breakfast!! LOVED it!! Just love your blog and your ideas!!


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