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Timely Tips on Tuesday: Graduation Cap Nut Cups and Fun Photos

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Faith's Firm Foundation: Timely Tips on Tuesday: Graduation Cap Nut Cups and Fun Photos

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Timely Tips on Tuesday: Graduation Cap Nut Cups and Fun Photos

 Kelsey's Cake from Grad Open House 2007
For our family, this is Graduation Open House season!  In our circle of friends, these are very large events, with hundreds of people attending and lots of food to eat! The menu at one Open House we attended this past weekend was pulled-pork sandwiches, chips and salsa and a cold 7-layer salad (layered, then mixed together well at the last minute) with pasta, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, peas, bacon bits, grated cheese and ranch dressing—yum! In the garage were the ice cream bars in the freezer and 60-cup coffee urns and 5-gallon water containers.  Outdoor games of volleyball and/or Ultimate Frisbee or soccer are played (most of the people live on acreage, or have somewhere to set this up). Groups of 15-20 young children can commonly be seen parading by on their way from one area of the acreage to a play area in the other corner.  Multiple 8 and 10-person tables set with plastic tablecloths in the graduate’s colors are set up under tents, in garages, in pole barns, and, weather accomodating, outside. White plastic chairs abound.
 Tents and Tables: Kelsey's Grad Open House 2007

The times listed on the invitation for start and end times of the party are considered mere suggestions, especially for everyone from our church, and if they know the host family well, as the volleyball playing and visiting will go on until dark, or after (servers go "off duty", and you serve yourself whatever food is left, after hours).
Volleyball in our backyard:  An Open House Favorite! 2004

If you are overwhelmed, or aghast, at the enormity of these events, and the "rudeness" of staying past the “end time” on the invite, be relieved to also know that those who stay will help the host family clean up:  they’ll tear down all the tables, stack the chairs, wash the dishes, take out garbage, and generally clean up everything!  Often, those who are having the next Open House will load up the tables and chairs, because everyone is borrowing them from everyone else!  Roasters and 5-gallon jugs might also be washed up and taken away!  Watching the clean-up process will certainly bring to your mind the old adage, “Many hands make light work”, because it really applies in this case!
This past Saturday: Making 7-Layer Salad for 500 People in 35 minutes!

I can vouch for the fact that it still is a lot of work! At our son’s Graduation Open House a number of years ago, we had about 180 people attend (our daughter’s was 280!).  Fortunately, it was a beautiful day in May, and everyone was able to be outside, if they wanted.  Naturally, you want everything to be festive, and fun!  It was my first Graduation Open House, and I wanted everything to be perfect.  One really fun thing we did was to make these darling Grad Cap nut cups, and fill them with mixed nuts and M&Ms!  (I first saw the idea in the April/May 2002 edition of Taste of Home.)
Our Serving Table at Dane's Graduation 2004

These are so cute, aren't they?!  The ones we made were royal blue, and we chose not to wrap the silverware in a napkin and tie it to look like a diploma.  Very cute idea, but when you're making them for a couple hundred people....I don't think so.  For as many people as we were making for, we enlisted the help of my husband’s “crafty” family while up north visiting them and we had a production line going. The guys spray painted in the garage on old pieces of cardboard (see photo below). My sisters-in-law and mother-in-law and my daughter and I cut and glued with several glue guns in the dining room.  We got them all done while visiting, and it was really a fun craft!  Unless you have a lot of help, though, I would say that this would be a great idea if you’re having a smaller Open House, of, say, 35-70 people--then these would be so fun to do!  Try them or pass the idea on to someone you know who's having a graduation this year or next!

Materials Needed to make one Graduation Cap nut cup:
  • 3-inch square of poster board, spray painted in one school color
  • 1 inch of 4-inch wide fringe in the other school color (we bought ours at JoAnn’s Etc.)
  • A 2-ounce plastic portion cup with lid (Two companies which sell these are Fabri-Kal and Sweetheart. Usually used for portions of salad dressing in restaurants.)
  • Hot glue gun
Here’s How To Make Them:
  • Spray paint the top of each square of poster board and the outside of each cup bottom. (We turned them upside down on a piece of cardboard, and spray painted them outside in the garage with good ventilation on a calm day.) If the cups need 2 coats of paint, let thoroughly dry in between.

  • Glue the top of each cup lid to the center of each poster board bottom, using a glue gun.
  • For tassels, roll the woven edge of each piece of fringe in thirds.  Glue a tassel to the top center of each board so it drapes over one side. (Be careful not to burn yourself on the glue gun.)
  • Fill nut cups with candies, mints, nuts, M&Ms, etc. then put lids on!
Volleyball (a tradition) at Dane's Open House 2004
We made these in royal blue, with gold tassels, which matched my son’s cap and gown, and everyone raved at how clever and cute they were!
Tip:  We bought the cups at Sams Club, but they come in a quantity of 2000, which, of course we couldn't use in a lifetime! So we then sold the leftovers at our garage sale! (You can find them online in smaller quantities--I recommend it!)

Whatever you end up doing when your children graduate, enjoy this special time!  As a Homeschooling mom, it is your time to celebrate this accomplishment, too, that the Lord has made possible!! Congratulations, Graduate, and Congratulations, Mom!

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Blogger Denise said...

Everything looks awesome.

June 8, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

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