Oh Summer how I love thee – the sun, the weekends, the pool and cookouts with family & friends. I’ve thrown a lot (no A LOT) of parties in my life and up until this recent house renovation we were constantly having folks over. If you’re like me, you want people to have fun, relax, enjoy themselves and eat. But also, you kinda want to enjoy the party yourself too. So on today’s Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer I’m sharing with you some of my favorite Outdoor Party Tips that I’ve learned over the years. I’d love to hear some of yours!
Sometimes kids don’t always eat fruit at a party. They go for the chips or the dessert table even though we plead with them to grab some fresh fruit. What I’ll do is place a marshmallow at the bottom of a sugar or waffle cone. Then place them next to the fruit salad. Once you show the kids that they can fill the cones with fresh fruit they love it! They can run around, catch a ball and still eat their fruit without missing a beat.
Cup Shades – no bugs about it!
Let’s face it, bugs suck. Nothing is worse than grabbing your drink only to put it up to your lips and finding a random insect floating in it. Whether you serve pop (soda for you non Pittsburgh folks, water or any drink in a container all you need are some flexible straws and cupcake liners. Place the liner over your open container, poke a hole with the straw and stick in it. BUG FREE drinks!
Ice Cubes – it’s just not for water!
It’s hot out, the party is jumping and you reach for a sip of your drink. Annnnnnnnnnnnd it’s now all watered down thanks to the ice cubes. Well fear not, take your ice cubes beyond water and make ‘drink’ cubes. For example if you’re serving punch or lemonade, make an extra batch of it, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then when you’re ready to serve, pop the ‘drink’ cubes into the drink and Voila! No watered down drink!
Have a refill bin
So for whatever reason no matter how much you plan for dishes, silverware and the like you always seem to run out in the middle of serving food. Which means you have to traipse back into the house to search for refills. And if your house is anything like mine, I’m the one that has to get it as Mr. Fantabulous has ZERO clue where anything is in this house. What I do is actually keep a plastic bin underneath one of the tables that filled with extra plates, napkins, silverware, serving utensils and so forth. So if you run out you can just point to your guests or spouse to grab some from there and refill what’s missing on the table!
Bottle Openers – Tie it up!
I’m that person at a party that will approach you, bat the baby blues and hand you her drink bottle to open the cap. I cannot for the life of me open up a beer bottle, wine cooler or the like. There was the one year we search high and low in this house for a bottle opener and found nothing. One guy ended up using his leatherman tool to open the bottles up. So then I got wise. I bought a few bottle openers and corkscrews and tied them on long ribbon to the tubs where the drinks were stored. This way when someone bent down to pick up a bottle they could open up their drink.
Label Trash Containers!
I label my trash containers – food/trash, bottles and so forth. I also put a HUGE note next to the trash containers telling them that they MUST empty out the drink before throwing it away. I hate when someone puts a half empty can or bottle in the trash. Seriously, I know your Mama didn’t let you do that, so don’t do it at my house. Kapeesh?
Protect Yourself Kit
When you’re outside you’re subjected to bug bites, sunburns and even in need of a bandaid. Set up a “Protect yourself kit” station that’s marked and in a pail or container have sunscreen, bug spray, bandaids and even a fly swatter if someone wants though if your family is like mine that fly swatter will be used to whack people instead of bugs! LOL
Best Ever Fly Repellent!
I’ve been doing this for decades as while I love having outdoor parties, I hate having pesky flies flying around. With my having asthma I’m hypersensitive to citronella. So instead I make my own fly repellent! I cut lemons into 1/2 thick slices and then insert about 8 or so whole cloves in each slice. I then place these lemon slices in little bowls (or plastic cups) all around the food. The flies stay away!
While I LOVE LOVE LOVE when folks bring a dish or two to our parties I never assume that they will also bring a serving spoon or utensil with it. Instead I stop at my local dollar store and stock up on cheap serving spoons, slotted spoons, spatulas and so forth. Then at the end of the night if they accidentally get tossed or taken home by someone I don’t fret.
Remember it’s a party and these folks are your friends. They love you regardless so relax and enjoy your party! So sit back, kick off your shoes, grab a drink and say Hello to Summer!