Every Day’s a Holiday!

I’ve been quiet much too long. I don’t know if I have any followers on this blog, if I do, I’m sorry. My purpose of starting this web log was to share ideas on how to celebrate life. But, with what has been going on lately, celebrating seems to have disappeared from our existence. We need to change that, and fast! The good Lord didn’t intend for us to be miserable in this beautiful world. Hopefully, this article might help!

At the beginning of the year I found this adorable little calendar “Every Day’s a Holiday” by TF Publishing out of Indianapolis. It’s pinned to my pegboard with important social media goal dates and the sort. Lately it has looked pretty pathetic, but this calendar has still made me smile!

With holidays like Apple Turnover Day, Junk Food Day, Drive-in Movie Day, Hug Your Cat Day, and Geek Pride Day, how could you not squeeze a grin out! On this calendar, today is French fries Day, so I think I’ll make some for dinner. And each time I shove one in my mouth, I will rejoice! Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is Friday the 16th! I’m so excited about that one, I love guinea pigs! I’m guessing I’ll have to post some pictures of them on my Facebook page to delight others.

So here we are, and I have to make a point or party tip for this post. Well, we could decorate every day with the holiday’s theme or better yet, let’s plan on picking two or three a week that encourages us to revel. There are some great websites that are dedicated to holidays. Earth Calendar has holidays from every country and day. It goes back as far as 2003. Fun to research! http://www.earthcalendar.net/index.php Another site is Holiday Insights. They have some very wacky fun days you could get into! http://www.holidayinsights.com/ The National Day Calendar will send you reminders in your email. They boast “Don’t find yourself unprepared for Talk Like a Pirate Day or Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day!” https://nationaldaycalendar.com/ This site is amazing, it also gives you the research on each holiday and ideas on how to observe it! An example is the Cow appreciation day history = “Chick-Fil-A created Cow Appreciation Day in commemoration of Heff R. Jones and his humorous ‘EAT MOR CHIKIN’ billboard campaign that took place in 1995. In 2004, we launched the first event. It led to a fun and entertaining promotion for the restaurant.” They also have National Weeks and National Months listed.

I found out through these wonderful people that July is “Anti-Boredom Month”. So I’m taking their advice on how to honor this month and every month in the future. Quoting from their website…..

Finding creative and healthy ways to beat boredom will improve our everyday lives. Once we’ve identified our causes, approach boredom with a set of positive challenges or stimuli to keep it at bay.

  • Play–Board games are an excellent way to fight boredom.
  • Get physical–Exercise not only provides stimuli but also helps change the scenery and improve health.
  • Learn–Visit a museum, read a book or take a class.
  • Clean -Tackling a cluttered cupboard, closet or even garage brings about a bit of satisfaction for a job well done.
  • Cook–Making in our own kitchen with ingredients we enjoy gives us two ways to be satisfied.
  • Be creative–Even if you usually don’t create, just trying can help break the boredom cycle.
  • Volunteer–Helping someone who needs something more than you often makes us reassess why we were bored in the first place.
  • Get social–Visit a friend or neighbor. Kids, this includes you! Aunts, uncles or cousins would enjoy a friendly conversation over an ice-cold popsicle.

Thank you for reading and I promise, I’ll add more creative ideas to celebrate for children and adults alike. Life is for whooping it up and praise!

God bless you all!

Milestone Birthdays

Milestone Birthdays

It has been a while since I have posted. July was a little depressing with everything going on. I trust you are all staying safe and pray the world heals itself soon. Although we have experienced more virtual events during this difficult time, smaller parties are starting to emerge. Today I want to discuss the ever- popular Milestone Birthdays. Even with pared down get-togethers these ideas can help make that something-0 landmark special! Although younger milestones (1, 16, 18 & 21) are important we usually begin focusing on age markers starting at 30.

AT 30 you bid the 20’s goodbye. You are in hopes that all those stupid mistakes you made in your youth can be forgiven and you are independent and, on your way, now. Some may have started a family; others are working at their ambitious careers and yet others are exploring the world. AT 40 you are on the brink of middle age, perhaps starting a new chapter or just dealing with the challenges of your life. AT 50 you’ve made it half a century on the planet! Your circles are flourishing, with friends, colleagues and family, some of whom have flown the proverbial nest. It is time to focus on you. AT 60 and beyond your life is full, a rich tapestry of love, experiences and memories. You have much to celebrate and so many people to celebrate with. AT 70, 80 & 90 you’ve witnessed so much change; technology and science have made huge leaps, the world has become smaller, our ambitions bigger. Families have spread further afield, yet we’re more connected than ever. AT 100 you need to give yourself a cheer, this doesn’t happen often. Only .02% of the population find themselves at this momentous milestone! You have been gifted with time and love.

Starting off with an invitation to your party, this idea can be done on Photoshop if you or someone in your family have expertise with the program. Otherwise paper and a pair of scissors will due. Find photos of yourself throughout the years. They can be with your significant other. Then cut them out into silhouettes and arrange them in order on an 11″ x 14″ piece of paper. The plan is to fold the paper as a four-panel accordion style invitation. The front of the invitation would be copied on the backside and folded over to be the front of the invitation. The text is printed on your computer and arranged so that it fits in-between the folds of the paper. Use a spray adhesive to glue the text and the photos in place.  Then take the original copy to a business that can make the 11″ x 14″ color copies. Hand fold and mail them in brightly colored envelopes. A smaller version of the same idea can be done on a standard 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. The invitation would then be a tri-fold brochure type. The printer can fold them for you too, for a minimal charge.

When choosing a theme for your event be selfish! Do something you want. If you choose a humorous approach there is plenty of “Over the Hill” décor available commercially. You can always crack out your Halloween stash to mock a funeral party. You can also decide to go with your hobby or interest such as fishing, hunting, gardening or sports. Choose a favorite place you have traveled to. Perhaps a tropical paradise or foreign destination. There are many international theme decorations available too. Celebrate “The Best of Times” by creating a pictorial timeline of the special moments in your life. You may choose a particularly happy decade of your life and plan the party around that, like the 50’s (Rock & Roll), 60’s (Hippie, Flower Child), 70’s (Disco) or 80’s (Dance, Digital). Have everyone dress in a decade costume. Last but not least is a focus on a certain color scheme that puts a smile on your face. This can make your party decorations very personal.

Balloons are a must for a milestone age. There are the large and small foil numbers that can be incorporated into the balloon décor. Match whatever colors work with the theme you have chosen. Air-filled Columns and centerpieces make great additions to the festive environment. And if you are doing the party virtually, they make great backdrops.

The food should be something you want too! It is all about you, anyway right? If you are having a specific theme try to choose the appropriate ethnic blend of food and drinks. But remember, it has to be stuff you like! If it is a generic motif pick your favorite foods to serve. Have your favorite restaurant(s) deliver the meals, individually is best with social distancing. (see my post on Covid-19 Party Guide https://pjspartyrentalandessentials.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/covid-19-event-party-alternatives/ )

Some terrific party favor ideas for your guests is candy bars with your photo and information on them. You can find an assortment of styles here https://www.whcandy.com/ You can also have labels made for wine bottles. Pick your favorite flavor of wine at a discount outlet and paste the personalized label on them. They are a perfect keepsake. Find the labels here https://www.personalcreations.com/ You can also find personalized M & M’s on their website. Plus consider personalized napkins or bookmarks from Carlson Craft here https://viewonly.carlsoncraft.com/ Another cool idea is to make cd’s or maybe a flash drive (cd’s are becoming outdated) of the American Top 40’ #1 song for each year of your life, as well as a few faves thrown in. It will be quite lengthy and interesting for the 100-year-old! Ask your family and friends to mail you a great memory they have of your relationship with them. You can put these memories in a scrap book. Remember to ask for pictures if they have them!

If your party includes real live guests you can have a “Roast” for the birthday person. Play Jeopardy! Set up a Jeopardy game board for guests to participate in. Instead of general trivia questions, they can be questions about the birthday guest of honor. Choose a handful of topics about the birthday man or woman, and then create 5-7 questions within each topic. You can either choose specific topics about the person or make each topic a decade of their life (if they’re old enough to have at least five topics). The harder the question, the more points they’re worth. Instead of having individuals play, you can divide your guests up into groups. That way, there’s some teamwork involved.

Whatever you do keep it safe! I am turning 70 soon and am excited about looking up all the #1 hits for the last 70 years! That will be quite a mix! God Bless!

Plan a Game Night Party

There really isn’t anything more fun than introducing your kids to classic games that you loved when you were a child or getting together your adult friends to indulge in your guilty pleasure!  I don’t know about you but a classic game of Monopoly, Scrabble. Twister, Parcheesi, Candyland or Sorry are more fun and engaging than everyone sitting on the couch focused on their phones, not communicating and self-absorbed.  Who knows, planning a game night with friends and/or family might start a trend of talking and laughing with each other regularly! Here are some ideas to get you started on this new adventure!

Greet your guests with a fun “Move ahead 12 Spaces” sign, laying down directional squares (like a game board) made from colored napkins or construction paper, and brightly colored balloons. As your friends enter the party area, make sure your food table hits them in the face with the fun theme. Make a backdrop from air filled round foil balloons in different colors. Tape them together to resemble a twister game mat. Attach to your wall with Command strips. If you don’t have the budget for balloons use colored paper plates.  Pile up games as risers for glass containers or bowls filled with brightly colored candy. Wrap water bottles with candy dots; add a homemade Monopoly inspired “Water Works” sign. If you are serving sparkling drinks serve them in candy rimmed glasses. To do this dip the rim of each wineglass in melted white chocolate and then press into a saucer filled with confetti sprinkles. Use scrabble tile food signs next to your food’s trays. Serve simple foods that can be taken to game tables and eaten casually during the evening or day (based on the timeline of your event).  Popcorn is an awesome choice, make Domino inspired popcorn bags using white bags and colored card stock. You can find instructions here https://www.hwtm.com/2015/12/game-on-5-easy-creative-ideas-for-game-night/ Make crispy treats, cookies or a cake and decorate with M & M’s. The bright colors and circle design mimic so many board games. Some other heartier food items that tend to be mess free are Miniature Corn Dogs, Miniature Pizza’s, Hero Sandwiches, Taco Dip and Chips, Cheese and Crackers, Pigs in a Blanket or Chicken Fingers.

Making decorations for your game theme party may need a trip to a thrift store. You can make garlands from Uno Cards or Monopoly money. So, not to steal from the game you are using to play with, take a trip to a second hand store and buy up any games you can find to tear apart and use for decorations! Tape game cards on helium balloon ribbons, hang from the ceiling and use as place cards or invitations! Use Poker Chips or gold Coins to scatter on tables like confetti. Fill flower vases with poker chips and place flower stems inside. Wrap paper cups and cutlery packages with playing cards. You can hang game boards from the wall behind game tables or beverage stations.

Create several game stations. Set up games in various corners of the room. Using 3ft or 4ft card tables and chairs (4 at each table) is a perfect setup. If you don’t own these, consider renting them. Divide guests into groups of 4 and let them start a game circle. Set a timer for a specific time (15-30 minutes) and let the fun begin. When the timer rings, guests move to the next station noting who was the winner at each station. After everyone has played all the tables the best 4 people will have a playoff. The champ gets a prize, like a special edition of Monopoly.

Everyone walks away a winner when you reveal the biggest surprise of the party: secret prizes hidden behind the balloons (or paper plates) at the buffet! As you setup your twister backdrop, tape scratch off lottery tickets on the back of each balloon or plate. Then at the end of the party ask each guest to pick one for their prize!

I hope you try this fun party and find you have created new bonds with friends and family! My family always plays board games on holidays but after writing this blog post I think we need to get together more often! God bless!

Communal Dinner Party

Communal Dinner Party

Communes were plentiful in the 1960’s & 1970’s. Communities of people sharing everything and living off the land were pipe dreams of peace, brotherly love, harmony, blah, blah, blah. Today there are a few left but the disillusionment of communal living started when the “Laid back attitude” translated to “they have absolutely no ambition”! However, the idea of sharing a meal with friends and/or family is still an attractive and heartwarming experience. So, this dinner party is taking the best of the communes of old and spinning them into a fun and relaxed night with people you love!

It’s a peaceful, easy feeling at your table. We can even imagine someone’s legs thrown over the corner of the table. The menu here is very simple. Just like it was in communes. Soups, Salad and lots of home baked bread. If you don’t have all day to simmer a variety of soups, pick them up at a deli or look for some hearty frozen soups. Soups like Navy Bean & Ham Soup, Potato or Broccoli Cheddar, Cream of Chicken, Barley Vegetable and Clam Chowder are perfect. Toss a salad with plenty of greens and place out a homemade vinaigrette dressing. Have baskets of fresh bread, breadsticks and croutons to accompany the yummy delights. For dessert bake up some Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chip Cookies. For communal type libations have pitchers of Sangria, Ice Water with Lemons and an assortment of teas. Serve in big mugs or mason jars.

The Décor will be down to earth too! Bring in greens and flowers from the garden or purchase at your local grocers’ floral shop. Set out votive candles with an assortment of different sized candles along the tables. Hang string lights around the party area. As hostess, put on a peasant dress if you have one or look for a similar type of loose-fitting garment from the thrift shop.

For background music you have to choose a mellow blend of tunes. Look up some New Age artist like Kitaro, Enya, Yanni, Secret Garden, David Lanz, Jim Brickman, Shadowfax or Suzanne Ciani; which are among my favorites. If you prefer to tap into the 60’s vibe choose anything by Peter, Paul & Mary, Donovan, The Association or Crosby, Stills & Nash. If one of your friends plays and instrument invite them to serenade the group.

This party is mainly to have friends share a meal. But if you want to add an activity or two that will incorporate a bit of “how well do you know each other?” here is a couple of suggestions.

  • At each place setting, include a pen and pad of paper. Have each guest write two statements about him or herself that are true and one that is false. The statements should be things the other guests would likely not know. An example would be 1) I once hitchhiked across Europe; 2) I had my picture taken with President Reagan; 3) I played the Tuba in the high-school marching band. Other guests then determine which is the false statement. Play for points or for fun, and play at least two or three rounds.
  • Purchase an inexpensive white tablecloth and colored permanent markers, one or two for each guest. During dinner, invite guests to doodle, draw caricatures of themselves or of one another, or sum up their life philosophies in one sentence each.

Enjoy the night breaking bread together and be at “Peace”!

Jungle/Safari Parties for Young & Old!

Jungle-Safari Party

A jungle themed party is fun for a wide range of age groups. Safari/Jungle themes can be used for Juvenile Birthdays, Older Children, Adult Parties, Baby Showers and even a Wedding Shower theme (Tropical Destination Weddings). You can find a wide range of decorations for any of these age groups. Crossover to a tropical theme can make this party idea more grown up.

Decorating your house, garden, or rented space for a jungle party is great fun. You can always buy jungle party decorations but a little imagination and some clever use of materials, balloons and decorations will really set the jungle scene. The good news is that jungle colors can be any colors really, as long as you include lots of green. An archway of green, red, orange, yellow, blue and brown balloons would be a great way for guests to enter the ‘jungle’, and how about attaching some strips of soft green and brown material that will hang down like vines, making them feel like they really are headed into the undergrowth. I love the Balloon Columns & Centerpieces (pictured) placed around the party area and on tables.

You could present each guest with a map and a passport so that they feel like real explorers. Or alternatively, you could give them animal masks, which you can pick up pretty cheaply from most party shops, so you can get them all monkeying around in the jungle.

Cover your chairs and walls in green material, and hang green streamers from the ceiling like crawling vines to make your party space look really wild and untamed. And if you don’t mind a bit of extra mess, you could even scatter some leaves about that you’ve collected from your garden. Stick some google eyes to the green cloth to make it seem as if there are lots of animals peeping out through the trees. There are lots of jungle backdrops available today so you can use those along with green plastic tablecovers, leaves and house plants to create your jungle. Using stuffed animals or cardboard cutouts of safari animals go a long way to make people feel like they are in the wild.

You can convert most common party games into a Jungle theme. Things like Charades, Pin the Tail, Backyard Tag and Scavenger Hunts take on a Safari theme easily. Crafts can range from decorating your own Safari/Pith hat to Making your own Animal Masks. Face painting is always a favorite for kids, you can paint on the animals faces. For older party goers consider pasting an animal name on each guest back as they enter. The game is for them to guess what animal they are by asking only “yes” or “no” questions to others to gain clues.

Food for a juvenile party may consist of Animal Crackers, Unshelled Peanuts, Gummy Worms, Bugs on a Log (Celery with peanut butter and raisins) or Animal-striped Pizzas (you can be very creative with this one by making your own pizzas using alternates of white, yellow and orange cheese strips to look like animal print. You can also add toppings in alternates, like a row of olives in a diagonal, then a row of cheese, another row of olives, etc. for tasty animal stripes). Feeding older crowds can include a specific cuisine. You can decide what jungle you may be re-creating and choose the cuisine to match. The ten most amazing jungles are in Borneo (Indonesian), the Brazilian Amazon, India the Jungles of Kipling, Sri Lanka (Indian Ocean), West Africa, New Guinea, Australian Christmas Island, New Zealand, Peru and Costa Rica. As you can see you have a wide range of foods you can choose from.

Whatever direction you decide to go just make sure your get your “ROAR” on and enjoy!

Divide & Conquer – Best Potluck EVER!

 

May I speak freely? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had much luck at a potluck.

I don’t want to offend, but why do potluck members have such a fervent desire to make Jell-O? Don’t pretend you haven’t seen this. For the spring potluck, someone always shows up with a Jell-O bunny mold surrounded by-oh the wonder of it all! -green coconut. Within an hour, the black jellybean eyes have bled into the Jell-O, and the bunny looks as if it came straight out of Children of the Corn. Standing nearby without fail is its creator, needling people into “just a little taste of the ear”.

When reduced to the simplest form, the Divide and Conquer party is a potluck with one important exception: You will take on the title of Supreme Potluck Commander in order to make it an elegant affair. And if anybody asks, “should I bring Jell-O?” the answer is no.

As Supreme Potluck Commander, you’ll contribute the main dish. Ask each guest to provide one or more items to complete your menu. The key is to create something stylish without demanding too much on short notice. Assign categories of food to participants. Try a simple sign-up sheet that you can email around to everyone. When making your list specify what foods should be brought. Use the guide below to put this upscale meal together.

ENTRÉE: Chicken Breasts, pork chops or pork tenderloin – using a marinade and grill or broil.

SALAD: Fresh Greens, Veggies, Fruit tossed – with dressings on the side.

VEGGIES: Steamed are best (avoid casseroles) broccoli, corn, green beans or mixed. Sprinkle with lemon juice and/or Mrs. Dash type seasoning.

RICE AND/OR PASTA: Using stock to cook rice or pasta makes it more flavorful, sprinkle with herbs.

BREAD: Rolls or French loaves should be warmed for the best flavor. This donation should include butter or flavored olive oil to dip bread. Flavored oil can be placed on the tables in small glass bowls.

DESSERT: Brownies dusted with confectioners’ sugar, seasonal pies or cake.

BEVERAGES: If your organization allows wine and beer, coffee, iced tea, water and here in Texas you must have Dr Pepper.

A special note to label your food. Don’t make guests guess at what they’re eating. Provide a recipe name and any warnings necessary (i.e., contains nuts, shellfish, dairy, gluten, etc.). Your extra effort will be appreciated, especially by those with food allergies or intolerances.

Ask for help with utensils, cutlery and dishes. Because you want this potluck to be a swankier event use real dishes and cutlery. You can mix and match designs, in fact mismatched table settings is a fashionable trend.  Make sure you have pitchers for water on the tables, plenty of serving pieces and wine and/or drink glasses. If your organization does not have a coffeemaker you can easily rent one. If you don’t have cloth napkins purchase the better “almost like linen” napkins. Use some twine or pretty ribbon for a napkin ring. And definitely use linens on the tables and candles. You can use votives in mugs and on saucers or if you have enough taper holders place them on the tables too.

Prep a playlist for background music for your party. The last thing you want to be doing when your guests arrive is fiddling around with the playlist and trying to get it right. Plan ahead of time by making a suitable playlist in advance. Set the mood for your celebration because there are no awkward silences allowed at your potluck!

Be prepared for leftovers. Have plenty of plastic containers on hand. Keep food safety in mind by throwing away any leftovers that have been sitting out for more than two hours.

Follow this guide and you will never have a potluck fail again!

How to throw a Cocktail Party!

Cocktail Party 101

The cocktail party is a perfect way of entertaining for occasions as diverse as a casual after work get-together to a New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Even though these types of parties are a throwback from the 50’s they are still popular and a staple in the hospitality industry. A perfect adult event that can be fun and rewarding.

Taking advice from caterers as to how they plan on the amount for drinks and how much to buy for cocktail parties, they use a formula that roughly estimates 10 people will consume 20 drinks at the average cocktail party. Make that 40 drinks if it’s a full evening affair, usually including dinner. This is based on a typical 1.5 Ounce shot of hard liquor.

So, how many drinks can you get out of a bottle? A 750 ml. bottle will yield about 17 cocktails. A liter bottle will yield 22. A 1.75-liter bottle will yield 39. For a party of wine drinkers, plan on stocking 5 bottles (750 ml) for 10 people. You should get roughly 5 servings per bottle. For beer drinkers, stock 5 six-packs for ten people, based on a twelve-ounce serving. If you have the budget and inclination, you can stock a full bar. However, a more economical idea is to offer a selection of cocktails that can be made from one or two primary types of liquor or to limit yourself to a wine and/or beer party.

If you do want to stock a full bar, you could go wild purchasing all kinds of exotic liqueurs and alcoholic concoctions, but most people’s imbibing needs can be met by having the following on hand: Vodka, Rum, Gin, Scotch, Bourbon, Blended Whiskey & Tequila. The mixers necessary for these alcohols will depend on the cocktails you plan on offering. I would suggest Juices (Orange, Grapefruit, Tomato Juice), Club Soda, Tonic Water, Cola, Lemon Lime Soda, Ginger Ale. Make sure you have Lemon and Lime slices and Olives available. Always have bottled water on hand.

If you’ve still got budget and want to offer more cocktail choices, consider choosing 5 of the most popular creations (maybe one’s your friends ask for) and stock ingredients to make them. According to bartenders 5 of the top sellers are Dry Martini (flavored one’s too), Old Fashioned, Margarita, Manhattan & Daiquiri.

Now that we have covered what to drink, how about some food? Most Cocktail parties are short and include snack food. Choose one recipe that requires cooking, add one or two that only require simple assembly. The rest of the snacks can be store-bought. And look for recipes that you can make in advance. A platter of crudités is always a good idea along with bowls of mixed nuts & pretzels. Oh, and skip the cheese board—it’ll just get messy. If you want to put out one nice cheese, though, go for it with some nice crackers and maybe some olives and salami. A nice finishing touch to an evening of cocktails is a dessert buffet and selection of coffee and teas. (btw if you need a large coffee machine we have them for rent!)

Enjoy Hosting!

Shangri-la-de-da Adult Pool Party

PoolPartyCollage

As an adult we all have some memory of a sun-drenched beach, tropical cocktails and feeling like we are at some exotic embassy party. Whether it was a cruise you took, a foreign vacation or just pretend at your own pool. Here is an opportunity to have some adult fun, without the kids. Time to enjoy friendships and the sultry summer weather.

Invite your friends to your Shangi-La-De-Da Pool Party. The event will start in the late afternoon with some swimming and sunning, perhaps some light pool games and plenty of Tropical Drinks and/or Punch. As the sun sets your guests will change into something linen and cool, ready for a meal and some socializing and entertainment.

The best part about being at the pool in the evening is the foreign, luxurious atmosphere. Create this by putting small lights in trees around the area. You can use mini Christmas lights or the big round bulbs available in many stores summer sections. Load up on floating candles and place them in the pool. Purchase and place tiki torches or freestanding candle lanterns around the area. Make or buy Luminaries to place around the pool and walking areas. Buy inexpensive three tired vegetable and fruit baskets and hang them from the outer branches of trees that are further out, place a small glass container with a candle set in sand on each tier. You might consider using battery operated candles for less maintenance during the night. If you have room (and it is legal in your community) build or purchase a ready made open fire pit.

For Food and Beverage service use unbreakable colorful glasses and plates. Discover an abundance of these at the dollar stores during the summer. Just mix and match whatever colors makes you happy. However, use your best linens and silverware to make the affair elegant. If you don’t have them, rent some Umbrella Tables for around the pool with linens and some Bistro/Cocktail tables with linens for people to stand at. For the buffet area bring out (or borrow) some house plants to place on the table with some up lighting. Sprinkle with flowers. Place trays of cut fruit and vegetables for the afternoon, along with some small cakes. Purchase some inflatable buffet ice trays that will keep the food cool. Dinner is grilled (on your own BBQ) Panini Sandwiches. Choose from beef, turkey, ham or even fish; find recipes and “how to’s” here https://www.cooking-outdoors.com/make-panini-sandwich-grill/  Have a tray of sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and served with fresh basil and slices of mozzarella. Make a seasonal salad with lots of fresh greens. A cool refreshing Dessert is Gelato (Italian Ice).

Entertainment easily consist of putting together a playlist of your favorite beach tunes. XM Radio and Pandora both have stations during the summer called Yacht Rock. It is soft rock hits, perfect for this type of gathering. Have a clear area by the pool set aside for dancing. Enjoy the evening and your friends and family! Happy Summer!

Invite the Girls for a Book Party!

Whether it’s your turn to host book club, you want to discuss your new favorite read or want a book swap, this easy-on-you get-together is sure to win rave reviews! Invite the girls to B.Y.O.B. Bring your own book with a homemade evite. Set the mood with the easy focal point using old book pages as the backdrop. Use painters’ tape to tape the sheets to the wall without damage. Hang a thrift store frame and spell out a book-themed message using craft-store letters. Place books, flowers and more pages on the table. Create cute banners using yarn and store-bought cocktail napkins in polka dots, stripes or chevrons and hang them around the room. Make flower vases out of old books. Hollow out the pages of the book, use hot glue to keep it together. Stuff a plastic bag down into to book to fill with water and flowers. The star of the table will be your awesome Book Cake! To Do: Bake 3 layers of boxed cake mix in 9” x 13” pans. Cool. Trim ½” off the short side of one layer and ¼” off another. Drop pre-rolled colored fondant over each layer, trim to fit. Stack layers; use edible pens and extra fondant to create a spine on each book. Adorn the cake with edible flowers.

Since this is an adult party a fun addition is a Bubbly Bar! This DIY champagne bar allows guests to create their own champagne cocktails. Have orange juice, raspberry lemonade, and grapefruit juice along with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries as the fruit mix-ins. Then to continue with the book theme, make a “Bubbly Bar” sign as well as the library card labels for the fruits. Offer up bites size eats like tea sandwiches, puff pastry appetizers, mini quiches or a cheese and cracker board.

If you are having a book swap, which I adore, make sure you have a table to spread out everyone’s books for examination. Rent some extra chairs for guests to sit and peruse through the novels. Before the party, create a bunch of book related questions and write them down on slips of paper. For example: What is the last book that made you cry? What book do you most recommend to friends? As friends come in, have everyone draw a question and place their books on the table. Once folks have arrived and settled in, go around the room and have everyone take a turn to answer their chosen question. They can also pitch the book they brought, telling the genre and why they loved reading it. You would think that this might be awkward some, but it is amazing to see how the common love of books inspires even the most introverted people to share with other readers. It’s the coolest thing ever.

“This is your LIFE” Party!

This is Your Life!

Although this party seems only for older adults I have seen this for 13th, 16th and 21st Birthday Parties. It can also be used for honoring achievements (lifetime or not) of people both young and old. Invitations must include a couple pictures of the honored guest along with details. The highlighted area of the party will be a table with photos and mementos through the years. Make a timeline on butcher paper for the wall behind the Memorabilia table. Include world events, personal events, popular music and movies, discoveries, and photos for different years on the line. Set up a photo backdrop area for guests to get their picture taken with the honoree. To model your party after the famous 1950s television show, you will need to set up a stage area with a special seat for your guest of honor and a large curtain to hide your mystery guests. Hide your guests behind the curtain, and, if possible, have a microphone or karaoke machine set up so that everyone can hear what they will say. Then, one at a time, ask them to relate a funny story or experience that they shared with your guest of honor and let your honoree guess who is behind the curtain! As an extra touch, you might choose to softly play music while each mystery guests speak to further enhance the mood. A guaranteed tear jerker! Prepare a video montage of photos and/or video clips of your party honoree and have it playing throughout your event — If you have guests who were unable to make it to the party, you might ask them to videotape themselves giving a greeting or sharing a story or remembrance about your guest of honor to play as a “virtual visit”. At some time during your party, pass around glasses of champagne (or sparkling cider) and propose a toast to your guest of honor. The best menu choices for a This Is Your Life Party are your guest of honor’s favorite foods. Finger foods are also a good choice for a celebration because they allow your guests to mingle while grabbing a bite here and there.