Lockdown Kid’s Birthday Ideas: Make Memories With Your Child

You’re a parent; you know what it’s like to feel stressed about your kid’s birthday. Of course, you want to make their day unique and memorable. But sometimes, the pressure of picking out a great party theme can be too much for just one person!

Here are five unique ideas that will help you plan an epic Lockdown Kid’s Birthday Party!

Have a Costume Party

If you are reading this article because your child is having their birthday soon, it may be time to break out those old costumes. Instead, plan an evening with friends or family members where everyone dresses up in silly outfits and has fun together. The best part of this idea is that you can reuse last year’s party favorites as well since they will double as goodie bags filled with goodies and treats for all who attend. 

You can find costumes at any store, but the best deals are usually online. You could even go as far as creating a Pinterest board of your favorite outfits and themes to help you explore all of your different options. Last-minute shoppers may want to try hitting up garage sales for great deals or sift through last year’s toy catalogs that they probably have sitting in their basement collecting dust!

Give your child the opportunity to get creative with their costume. Maybe they want to dress up as their favorite animal, or if that is too difficult for them, let them be a superhero and find an old sheet from home and cut it into cape shapes! 

You could also take this time of year to have some fun by making party foods like cookies in different shapes (pumpkin-shaped) and creating festive drinks like pumpkin pie martinis. Transform your house into a haunted mansion using lights outside on trees and inside your windows so when you walk around the corners; people don’t know where you’ll pop up next.

Have a Digital Party

You can have a digital party where your child gets to plan their virtual birthday each day of the week. Your kid would get to wear different outfits throughout the week and choose what they want for presents or do online activities on that day. You can have your child take photos with each costume and later customize them into Photo Strips to replicate the joys of the photobooth.

They might be able to play games like Minecraft or Fortnite, chat with friends in an Xbox Live session using voice chat, browse photos from around town, and check out new videos shared by family members. But, of course, it’s best if you’re accessing these apps together while chatting about how much fun it is when you talk through headsets!

Plan a Special Menu

It’s your child’s birthday. The best way to make it memorable is by having a menu that reflects their favorite foods or treats. If you’re not sure what they like, ask previous guests. 

You should think about snacks as well. If anything happens and people wait for their meal, these small things can go a long way to keep them happy. Have some deep-fried foods around if anyone wants something fried, and really, who doesn’t love French fries? But don’t forget healthier options like fruits and veggies too. It may not be Lockdown Kid’s birthday, but you should still make sure people eat healthily.

It’s essential to make sure that the event has food that lockdown kids will enjoy, and it is also a good idea for family members or friends with dietary restrictions. You can do this by having an online menu where people can choose what they want before coming over, so everyone gets something special. It may not be lockdown kids’ birthday party ideas, but you should still make sure there are snacks.

Hire a Digital Performer

You can do this by going on the internet to find an entertainment service provider that offers video-game performers, movie actors, and many other types of virtual characters for hire. Choose a digital performer specializing in children’s parties because they will likely have experience with entertaining kids and know what sort of party games are appropriate. They can also help you plan your child’s birthday activities like preparing costumes or designing balloons!

Make It a Family Day-Out

A great way of making your child feel special is by spending some time with them! It could be going for a walk, enjoying lunch at their favorite restaurant, or even cooking together in the kitchen. Whatever it may be, make sure they know that this day is all about them and no one else!


In conclusion, it is important to make memories with your children on their birthday. The ideas are endless, and there’s a party idea for everyone in the family!

Planning for That Backyard Barbeque Party for Long, What All Should You Keep In Mind?


Are you a self-proclaimed barbeque pro who is dying to show off his skills to family and friends?

Well, this article can help you out to plan for that much-awaited event of yours. Who does not enjoy lip-smacking ribs with some beer on a lazy weekend? But setting it all perfectly for that backyard party can include many variables to be in place.

The Outdoor Environment

When you plan a gathering of many people various aspects need consideration. It generally starts with checking the weather radars for identifying the most suitable time when the party can happen.

It will help you avoid any unforeseen situations and plan better. A good favorable climate can aid in having a great party. You can consider the various factors like:

● Cleaning your backyard to accommodate the guests. Often there is a lot of stuff in the backyard of the house, which can include debris or unused items. These occupy most of the space of the backyard and make it look unusable. If the garden has long grasses, you can decide to mow them too.

● Making seating arrangements for all the people. Based on the number of people that you are inviting, have adequate seating arrangements. If there is a pool, kids may want to play there. You can make arrangements for them and also keep ample towels to dry up later.

● Lighting is a crucial aspect of your party, if it stretches to late evening or if it’s a late afternoon or evening affair. You can use outdoor string lights to cover the place. They look like glittering stars as the night sets and creates an ambiance for you.

● Keep the guest room clean and ready if anyone feels the need to lie down. It is especially handy if someone wants to change or wants to relax a little if too exhausted. People also will use the loo more often, so keeping it in order can also be a good idea.

Pre-Prep the Food

A great idea for the backyard barbeque parties can be to prep the food in advance before the guests start arriving. When you prepare in advance it can make a lot of difference, you get time to enjoy the cookout more with your family and friends.

Prepare the food in such a way that you can start the grill as soon as people start arriving. For this, you can make sure that the side dishes are in place, cooked, and can go to the display section as and when you need them. You of course do not want to be preparing your patties or chopping veggies when your guests are arriving.

The Fuel

Re-check multiple times to ensure that there is enough charcoal or propane for you to have a seamless barbeque session. It often happens that people underestimate the need for charcoal and end up in a sticky situation.

Who would like to see half-cooked meatloaves on a cold grill? You will end up visiting the gas station more often in the middle of the party. It can disturb the flow of the party, and any mood set before will have disruptions. Another aspect is the meat or patties on the grill, which turn lifeless and rubbery when you start cooking again. Also, be cautious while using the fuel.

The Snacks Area

Setting up the snacks counter away from the cooking area can benefit you more than you know. It often happens that people surround the barbeque area where the main action is on, even though the prep is complete and the grilling is on. It makes the cooking area congested with people, and you will end up having less space to flaunt your skills in style.

You can use a folding table to serve as a snacks counter, put it up at a distance from the barbeque grill area. Keep the options displayed for the guests to select.

The Drinks

A crucial aspect of a backyard barbeque party is to stock ice in the cooler to keep the drinks cold. You can stock juice boxes, bottled waters, and other kid-friendly drinks. You can use a separate counter to store beer, wine, or any other adult beverages that you plan to serve at the party.

You can use various fancy tools to make a mark if you are planning a summer cocktail party. Pre-mixing some of the drinks can be a good idea. Otherwise, you will end up constantly pouring, measuring, and stirring.

So if you are planning for a barbeque party in your backyard, taking care of the above aspects can get you going. Being prepared in advance gives you time to enjoy the party with your friends and family and also gives you a chance to flaunt your skills without any worry.

6 Ways to Keep Your Wedding Simple

A wedding can easily turn into a big, complicated affair that requires a lot of time, money, and effort. And that’s completely fine for some people. But if you are more into an intimate celebration, this article will help you simplify your wedding plans and avoid getting overwhelmed with chores.

Although the pressures of the wedding preparations can’t be entirely prevented, there are steps you can take to alleviate some stress of your big day. 

If you want to keep your event as simple as possible, here are six ways to have a fuss-free wedding! 

1. Stick to a Small Guest List

A cozier group of guests requires less work, but keeping the list small isn’t easy, especially if you have a big family. On the flip side, a shorter guest list also means reduced expenses and a more manageable event. 

It may be unrealistic to hope for 20 guests only, but even whittling your list from 300 to 150 guests is a success. Sometimes just limiting the list to the first cousins of your parents will do the trick. 

And as a bonus, you’ll get more quality time with your loved ones! 

2. Keep the Menu Simple

If you don’t go for an extravagant, fancy dinner, you can keep the costs at a reasonable level. So, how do you pull it off? Stick to a few simple, key dishes. If you go with a caterer, you can get an exceptional menu without overcomplicating things.

Pick one cuisine theme instead of overwhelming the taste buds of your guests. For example, if France is your favorite destination in the world, you can go with crepes and croissants. 

Less can be more, even when it comes to your wedding menu! 

3. Opt for a Venue that Naturally Looks Amazing

The right location sets the tone for the entire wedding, and it also accounts for up to half of your wedding budget, so it’s one of the most important aspects of your big day. Naturally beautiful places are your best bet when you’ve decided on a simple wedding.

For example, New Zealand and especially Queenstown wedding venues are popular wedding destinations for that exact reason.

Having a venue that provides a perfect backdrop, like lush green slopes, snow-capped mountains, or a cozy villa, will require minimal décor and less effort on your side for the entire event to be magical. 

4. Stick to a Minimal Décor 

Keeping the decorations simple equals little trouble and little expense too. Even a few floral arrangements, some candles, or some other kind of beautiful décor can enhance your wedding and make a huge impact if you do it right! 

For instance, hanging string lights from the ceiling of your venue will create a one-of-a-kind, romantic ambiance.

Playing with creative lighting is a great way to compliment your space. For a hint of glamour, drape the ceilings and see your it transforms in no time! 

5. Ditch the Fancy Invitations 

Traditional wedding invitations can be pretty expensive, and the whole process can take some time, so if you’re going with an intimate affair, there is an easier way to deliver a successful invitation! 

You can let your creative juices flow and craft your own invitations that represent you as a couple as well as your aesthetics. 

6. Ask for Help and Delegate! 

A lot of couples fall into the trap of trying to do all the preparations on their own. There is a lot to do and a lot to think about, so enlisting a few friends and family is a great way to take some burden off your chest and include your loved ones in your celebration.

They usually love to help and enjoy being a part of the wedding in that sense. They can take care of the little details and make your life a lot easier! 

And remember: your friends and family are coming to celebrate your marriage and enjoy your company so don’t stress about impressing them! 

Checklist For A Palatable Barbeque Cookout In Your Backyard

Summers are at your doorstep and have come with long and sunny days that go perfectly well with outdoor cookouts in your backyard. Friends meetups or family gatherings turn into more relaxing, laid-back and comfortable evenings when you have it in your backyard.

Whether you are having a small garden party just for your near and dear ones or throwing a big barbeque bash for all your professional and personal acquaintances, you need to have a checklist made for taking things in a smooth direction.

We are here to help you sort out your essential checklist to turn your otherwise mundane gatherings into more exciting and happening ones.

Grilling Equipment

Can you imagine yourself without a heart and soul? Obviously not!

Similarly, the grilling equipment is the heart and soul of any barbeque, and it should be the most prioritized thing in your checklist. Get your hands on grills with suitable sizes and shapes that suit your height and cooking style in the best possible way.

While playing with fire, you need to keep yourself safe as well. Keep grill gloves on your hands all the time to protect them from getting contacted by the fire.

The secret to a tender barbeque is the constant fire supply to the meat. So make sure that you don’t run out of charcoal for your grill. You should know how to smoke a turkey, make juicy kebabs and be well aware of the delicacies of tender steaks.

Spatula, grilling fork and tongs are grilling equipment you should have around while you are in your cooking zone.

Beverages For All

The only thing that makes the blazing sun heat bearable in summers is the chilled beverages, and so these should be the next item on your checklist. Present your guests with drinks straight from the freezer to give them a cool start for the evening.

Ensure that you have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks so that the kids and adults can drink as per their choice. Fruit punches, lemonades are ideal for kids to drink at a barbeque picnic. The options are limitless for those of your guests who prefer cocktails for summer and beers over any other drinks. Just remember that the ice bucket never gets emptied, and the beers stay chilled to the very last second of the gathering.

Disposable cups, ice, bottle opener, and corkscrew are the essential drinks-related items you need to have continuous access to.

Get Your Meaty Treats Ready

A barbeque party revolves around meaty items, all of the side dishes simply add to the vibe, but the main focus is always on the meat.

As a generous host, it is your responsibility to ensure that you don’t face meat shortage and the grill only goes silent when everyone has full tummies to go to their home with.

Beef, chicken, hotdogs, pork and whatnot. Satisfy your guest’s craving for steak, sandwich or burgers with tender proteins in them. The meat is not only restricted to this list of main courses but can also be added to salads.

Cutting sausages for your salad can be a time-consuming task, and if done poorly will be enough to ruin your presentation skills. Use a hot dog slicer to cut them in evenly shape and have an everlasting impression on your guests.

The Sides And Desserts

Once you are done with the main course, you need to shift all your attention towards the sides and the desserts, giving a perfect end to the night.

Serving a few side dishes like coleslaw, cheese-filled corn dogs, tortilla chips, or fresh fruits elevates the appetite and can be excellent fillers for those who are waiting for the grilled main course to be served.

After all the spicy and salty dishes, one must have a high craving for something sweet to give a 180o shift to taste buds. Fulfill their desire by keeping a separate stand for desserts like cookies, ice cream, donuts, brownies and cream cheesecakes.

Make sure you add these to your checklist because they might just appear as an added extension to the barbeque but rest assured these will definitely add charm to your setup for the night.

Music And Dance

No party is a party without some music and dance in it. After all your guests have eaten to their full, it’s time that you make them digest their food well before they head out to their homes.

Get some speakers and become the DJ at your party. Turn the music volume up and let your dance moves go free. Involve everyone in the dance, and you will have a BBQ that will be remembered for many years to come.

Bottom Line

Making a checklist for any event makes you smoothly do things, and the chances of you forgetting them become very thin. For arranging a successful BBQ party, you need to make a to-do list with all your tasks written on it in a prioritized manner. Grilling equipment, drinks, food menu and some entertainment through music are worth-mentioning tasks for your checklist.

Keep in mind the above points when you are going to have a barbeque party in your backyard.

Party Planning on a Budget

Planning a party on a budget can be perplexing at times. With a little creativity and smart decisions, however, any party can be a success, whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary, wedding, holiday, or baby shower. Here are five suggestions for how to plan your next party on a budget.

Send Online Invitations

Once you’ve decided on the date and time for your party, forego the traditional paper invites. Instead, create invitations from imaginative templates, like beautiful virtual bridal shower invitations online. Since most everyone relies on email and text messages these days, this is a perfect option and a fabulous way to lower costs.

Bake Your Own Sweet Treats

Many or all parties involve some type of sweet treats, such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or other type goodies. If you purchase a birthday cake from a bakery or store, your budget could take a big hit. Instead, make them yourself. Even if you’re not a baker, you can do this easily with store-bought mixes. Get creative with the frostings and any decorative toppings. Look for ideas online to help whether you are going to try angel food cake or flan.

DIY cupcakes are a great, low-cost option for any type of party. They aren’t just for kids’ parties anymore. Try using a white icing using a pastry bag for swirls and place little wedding bells or other small items you find for a low cost. You can even put initials on the top with sprinkles or candies.

Create Unique Decorations

You can spend a lot of your budget on decorations and supplies. However, you don’t have to. Start by looking around your home and identifying anything you already have that you can use. Do you have dozens of candles? Find creative ways to display these. Do you have flowers growing outside? Find unique vases to display them. Print out photos of the couple or birthday guy and place them in frames on a table.

Also, get creative and make your own decorations. Whether you consider yourself crafty or not, you can find something that will work. Look for tutorials online for unique ideas, such as how to make tablecloths or placemats from fun fabrics. Gather pinecones and paint them silver and gold, or red and green.

Consider Timing

Instead of holding your party during a mealtime, consider an in-between time, such as mid-afternoon or after dinner. This will lower your food budget considerably. Offer appetizers and snacks. These can be finger foods, vegetable, cheese, and fruit trays, or chips and a few special dips.

Select Your Splurge Item

Since you’re cutting costs elsewhere, consider selecting one item you wish to splurge on. This will depend on the occasion for the party, of course, but choose one that fits appropriately. This can be rental of a certain location, fancy chocolates from the chocolatier in your city, or the hiring of a magician or musician. By cutting costs elsewhere, you can feel good about allowing a splurge.

A little creativity can go a long way when planning a party on a budget. The goal is to make your guests feel comfortable and for everyone to have fun, including yourself. It doesn’t have to be perfect. By sending online invitations, doing more of the cooking and designing of the party décor yourself, and adding that one splurge item you’re excited about, you’re ready to throw a great get-together.

Celebrating your kid’s birthday during lockdown – 4 simple ideas that they’ll love

I bet you never envisioned celebrating your little one’s birthday whilst under a country-wide lockdown, did you? You may have had big plans, a huge party in mind with all their school friends, days out and plenty of food and fun. But, now with most of those things unavailable for the foreseeable future, it can be difficult to know what to do next.

No parent can stand the thought of their little one having a less than perfect birthday, and as if the pressure weren’t normally high enough, these days a fun and memorable birthday can seem like an impossible task.

Sadly, while many things are beyond our control at the minute, there are things that you can take full control of – including the best birthday for little one ever, if you’re still looking for the perfect gift, check out wicked uncle for the latest toys.

Here we’ll share some simple, fun birthday ideas that your little one will absolutely love.

Let them choose a theme

Just because you’re not hiring a community centre or heading to an indoor play area, doesn’t mean your child can’t have a theme. Let them choose the kind of party they want and then source the decorations, balloons, party favors, tableware, linen and tablecloths to match. From under the sea, to dinosaurs, monsters, princesses, superheroes, space, animals – the possibilities are endless.

Don’t sweat the decorations

As mentioned above, if your child picks a theme then you’ll know what type you need to source. However, remember that you can also make bunting at home, either with paper or with a sewing machine, string up fairy lights, make paper streamers and more. Ideal if you’re trying to save a little money at the moment.

Take the party outside

The weather is warming up, so why not take the party outside? Even if your outdoor space is minimal, you can make the most of it. Lay out picnic blankets, add plenty of cushions and bring out the food and drink. You could also play party games outdoors and not worry too much about the mess!

(Virtually) Invite their friends!

Just because we’re following social distancing rules, it doesn’t mean your little one can’t invite their friends! A group video chat is a fun idea, or ask parents to send your child a video message via their messenger service. They’ll feel extra special and love hearing from their friends!

Five Fun Ideas to Make Your Next Garden Party Pop!

Spending time outdoors is what it’s all about when the spring and summer roll back around, and if you’re wanting to get out into the garden then what better way to do so than by hosting a garden party? If you want your occasion to be extra special, here are a few ways you can give it a boost.



Switch up the style

If you always go for a barbeque, why not try something different? How about a traditional style picnic- but in the garden? Lay down a checkered picnic and serve some tasty picnic classics– there are plenty of ideas to inspire you on Pinterest. You could also go afternoon tea style, this is nice if you want an elegant affair. Invest in some tiered cake stands and serve up finger sandwiches, fancy pastries and other bitesize nibbles out in the garden with the sun shining. You could go with a traditional tea served in mismatched china (you’ll find this in just about any charity shop). Or you could go sparkling and serve it with champagne or prosecco.

Set up a photo booth

A photo booth is a great way to keep guests entertained and also enables you to capture some fun and lighthearted pictures of the day. You could hire a company like Booth Boy photo booth hire for the day, or you could make your own using a white sheet as a backdrop and purchase some cheap props online. Amazon and ebay have packs of these that you can order and are fun for guests to mess around with and snap some pictures.

Hire a bouncy castle

If you’re throwing a party for kids or kids will be attending then what better way to keep them busy on a sunny day? Bouncy castles are loads of fun and will certainly get them excited. They don’t cost as much as you might think to hire them for the day, and if you want to keep children occupied while you enjoy the party with your adult guests then this is a great way to go about it.

Purchase some lawn games

Lawn games like giant Jenga, Connect 4 and Snakes and Ladders are good for kids and adults alike. If you want to get people mixing and chatting then this is one way to go about it, they’re not too expensive and once you have them they can be brought out of the shed every year. It’s something a little different that your guests are sure to have fun with.

Find some nice decor

Finally, if you want your party to stand out and for it to really feel like a party then adding some decorative touches can go a long way. If you’re celebrating a particular occasion then helium filled balloons and banners can work well. Otherwise, find pretty garden lighting and fill vases with cut flowers. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your garden is clean and tidy and up to scratch before throwing a party in it so spend a little time on this first.


College Football Spirit with Dr Pepper® + DIY Photo Booth Tutorial

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FootballFanGame #FiredUpFans

Saturdays in the fall is football day at our house.  Each week you’ll find us wearing our favorite sports apparel, chowing down on some yummy football food, and of course, watching football and showing our team spirit.  As the season grows near, I’m getting my shopping list ready so I can buy all the food and supplies we’ll need for a little homegating.  A few items we could not live without include Dr Pepper®, Kingsford® Original Charcoal, and Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dressing!  Today I’m here to show you how we do football, and I’ve also got a tutorial for DIY Photo Booth that can help make your football party fun and unique!

I’ve always been a huge fan of Dr Pepper and am happy that it is the official drink of college football fans and has been part of college football for over 25 years.

And apart from drinking the Dr Pepper, you can also use it as a marinade for your favorite meat or serve it up in some delicious Dr Pepper Floats.

You can purchase Dr Pepper in the can drink aisle at your local Walmart.  Be on the look out for special college football packaging!

The grill is a staple in our home.  We use it at least once a week, and it’s great for making some of our favorite football foods like pulled pork, grilled chicken, hamburgers, and hot wings.

My husband is our resident grill master! I can always count on him to grill up some delicious meats for game day. He loves the Kingsford brand and says it is the only thing he will use on a charcoal grill. The product is made in the USA with 100% natural North American ingredients.

We purchase our Kingsford Original Charcoal at Walmart.  Look for it in the lawn and garden department, along with other Kingsford varieties like Kingsford Charcoal with Applewood as well as varieties with Hickory, Pecan, Cherrywood, and Mesquite. Check your local store to see if grocery pick up is available for your convenience.

Hidden Valley Ranch is the perfect addition to salads, veggies, meats, crackers, and even pizza!


Of course, it’s not a party or even a regular day at my house unless I am taking pictures!  I’m the Queen of Picture Taking and I’m always walking around taking pictures of people, animals, or just random every day things!

To make more professional photos of our son, I have a very simple DIY photo booth, and this set up works great at parties for a little decoration and for a spot where your guests can take their own fun photos!  I like to place ours in our kitchen because it has the best natural light.

Supplies / Tools

32 ft of 3/4″ wide PVC pipe

(4) 3/4″ PVC T Pieces (slip on, not threaded)

(2) 3/4″ PVC Elbow Pieces (slip on, not threaded)

PVC Pipe cutters

Additional Supplies:

Clasps / Clips to hang backdrop

Backdrop and photo props – You can purchase cheap or expensive backdrops, but I usually use every day items like blankets, tablecloths, curtains, and shower curtains.

Note: The measurements in this tutorial will give you a backdrop that is 4 foot across.  The small booth set up is 40 inches high, and the large booth is 70 inches high.  If you need for your booth to accommodate taller people, you will obviously need to adjust the lengths you cut on the pipe.


Use your PVC Pipe Cutters to cut your pipe into pieces as follows:

6 – 30 inch pieces

2 – 4 ft pieces

2 – 40 inch pieces

To assemble, take 2 of the 30 inch pieces and place them in either side of a T-joint.  Repeat with 2 other 30 inch pieces.  These will be the bottom of the base.  Next take a 40 inch piece and place it in the other side of the T joint.  Repeat with other 40 inch piece.  This gives you the bottom and the lower half of the sides.  Next add another T joint to the top of each 40 inch piece.  Take one of your 4 foot pieces and use it to connect your two sides.  This will give you the small assembly seen above.

If you are just doing a photo booth for small kids, you can hang a backdrop from this and you are ready to go.  (It can also accommodate teens and adults who are seated.)

To complete the large set up, take your other two 30 inch pieces and add them to either side.  Then add an elbow joint to either side.  Next use your other 4 ft piece to connect the two

sides.  This will complete the large assembly.  Now you are ready to hang up a backdrop, get out your props, and have some fun.

With a photo booth like this your friends and family can take professional looking photos in front of a fun scene.  It will help them commemorate the day, and it is a lot of fun for one and all!

Are you ready for football? Get fired up with more football fan ideas. I’d also love to hear your tailgating tips, traditions, and ideas. Please join us in the comments or on social media. 

Grilled Hot Wings + 6 Tips to Make Your Summer Cookout a Success

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeYourSummer #MADEFORDOERS #CollectiveBias

Summer time is party time!  My husband and I love to have cookouts during the summer, and we are sort of famous for our last minute impromptu get-togethers, featuring my husband’s grilled masterpieces, and my amazing sides and desserts.  Today I’m excited to offer you an easy but unique recipe for your next cookout, plus tips to make your summer cookout a success from prep to clean up.


Party Time Clean Up Essentials

When it comes to parties, most people focus on the food first and then the decorations, but you must not forget other essentials like plates, cups, eating utensils, and of course, something to help guests to clean their hands.  VIVA® Vantage® Big Roll Paper Towels come in a convenient 6 pack that is perfect for your party.  I love putting out a roll of paper towels, because it is easy, convenient, and cost effective.  Also, in the event of a spill, you just grab a roll and get to cleaning!

Paper towels can also be a big help for cleaning as you go before your party begins.  Just wipe down tables and counter tops as you work, so the messes don’t add up!  Then after the party is over, I like to grab my favorite spray cleaner and a roll of paper towels for quick clean up!

New Kleenex® Wet Wipes Gentle Clean are also a convenient product to have on hand.  These are safe to use on hands and your face.

Summer parties are often outdoors, which means no sink is immediately available, and so it’s great to offer guests some wipes for personal clean up (especially if you are serving a messy food like ribs, wings, or ice cream).

I recommend placing a package of Kleenex® Wet Wipes at the center of each of the tables where people will be eating, as well as an additional package next to your messiest foods, which may require the use of the wipes (ie – right next to your tray of hot wings).

You can find both of these products in the bath tissue, facial tissue and paper towel aisle at your local Kroger.  I used my Kroger Plus card and was able to save $5 on the VIVA® Vantage® Big Roll Paper Towels 6 pack!

The Kleenex® wipes found on the facial tissue aisle.  I actually found them on the same aisle as the paper towels.  I found them at the opposite end of the aisle, in between bath tissue and facial tissue.

Place Non-Food Essentials in One Place

I have been to so many parties and get-togethers where everyone appears lost!  Where are the plates?  I can’t find the cups!  I forgot to get a paper towel. Where are the forks?  The confusion can be solved rather easily, by placing all of these essential items at the end of your buffet, all together in one place.

Fun Theme

Even the smallest party can be made more fun with a few decorations.  My stepson recently graduated high school and will be leaving in August to join the army, so for his upcoming party, I would use some simple red, white, and blue decorations.  I LOVE patriotic decorations to begin with, so this is an especially fun theme for me.  Plus, with Memorial Day and the 4th of July being summer time holidays it is very easy to find paper plates, balloons, tablecloths, and other fun decorations and party favors to go with this theme.

Make Ahead Menu Items

To shorten prep time and make less mess on the day of your party, choose a few make ahead menu items.

  • Casseroles that can be mixed up the night before and simply warmed in the oven the next day are great.
  • You can also make salads the night before. (We always make our potato salad a day ahead!)
  • No bake desserts are also great for this, as well most other desserts from homemade cookies to pies and cupcakes.

Unique Menu

Think outside the box when planning your menu; just a few unique menu items can take your menu from bland and basic to original and full of flavor.

Right now we are brainstorming party ideas for Noah. My husband and I LOVE to do cookouts, and we also love doing appetizer parties, so my idea is to do a combination of the two.  I’d like to serve hamburgers and hot dogs (because it is easy and everyone loves it), but I also want to throw in some of our favorite appetizers like hot wings, sausage balls, and buffalo chicken dip.

You could also add a few appetizers to your menu if your are having a fish fry.  Or offer up veggie kebobs alongside your grilled steaks or barbecue chicken.

Fresh fruits and salads are also great additions to your backyard barbecue, and of course, you never want to forget the dessert!

Fire Up That Grill!

If you’re serving appetizers at your next cookout, I have a simple, yet unique recipe.  Where I live hot wings are not typically served at a barbecue.  They are usually reserved for tailgating parties and holiday parties, so just having them at a summer party is an interesting menu twist for us.  And if that’s not enough, these wings are GRILLED!  Usually when people think of wings, they think of wings fried in a fryer.

Grilling your wings will add extra flavor that frying just won’t do, and because you aren’t using any oil, and the fat from the wings drips down into your grill, your wings will actually be a lot more healthy!


Grilled Hot Wings

Grilled Hot Wings


5lb hotwings (drumettes and/or flats)

OR 5 lb chicken tenderloins (for chicken fingers or cut into boneless wings)

12 oz bottle cayenne pepper hot sauce

1 stick butter

1/4 cup steak seasoning sauce

1 tbsp garlic powder


Place wings on grill and cook on 250 degrees of heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

Just before wings finish cooking, make sauce: Pour hot sauce, steak seasoning sauce, and garlic powder in to a sauce pan. Add stick of butter. Simmer on low to medium heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.

Once wings are off the grill, place wings in a dish and pour sauce over wings. Serve with ranch or bleu cheese dressing.


To prevent burning and sticking, take a piece of aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, place marinated wings on foil, and fold/scrunch foil to create a foil pack. Then place foil pack on grill.



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Do you love cookouts and summer parties? Visit the Make Your Summer Social Hub for more unique grilling inspiration.  And as always, I invite you to join the conversation by commenting on today’s post!

5 Trending Wedding Cake Ideas


Just like any other aspect of a wedding, wedding cakes tend to have trendy designs that come and go. The wedding cake is the center piece of your entire reception, so it is important for it to have some stylish flair. Check out these five wedding cake ideas that are trending for 2018.

1. Painted Cakes

In the past few seasons, there has been a significant increase in watercolor designs. The gentle hues and brushstrokes of edible paint on a smooth coat of fondant can make a wedding cake truly stand out. A nice thing about this design trend is that it can easily be adapted to any size and shape of cake. Because of this, as you can imagine, the price is suitable for any budget. Check out CakesPrices for more info about round, inch or square types of cakes. The biggest trend for the painted cakes are ones with sketchy vines of flowers and leaves twisting around the cake. Hand painted floral patterns are trendy because they match the wedding trend of hand embroidered floral patterns on dresses. This artistic and romantic look is perfect for a garden wedding. Ombre cakes with soft brushstrokes and feather shapes are another way to try out this trend.

2. Naked Wedding Cakes

The rustic wedding style is still going strong, so plenty of brides and grooms are going for “naked” cakes. You still get plenty of yummy frosting in between each layer of the cake, but the top and sides are bare. These cakes look best in tall, towering tiers. They are ideal for couples who want lower cakes prices since they are less time consuming to make. Though naked cakes have been around for a while, the new trend is to select this design for wedding cakes in unusual flavors. The bare sides make sure that the colorful and unique cake is the star of the show. Popular flavors include blueberry, blood orange, red velvet, confetti, or other flavors that have fun hues. You can add further decoration with garlands, fresh flowers, or fresh fruit around the cake.

3. Feather Cakes

Also called brushstroke cakes and Kalabasa cakes, this style has been taking Instagram by storm lately. It consists of a cake decorated with thick sprays of feathery looking chocolate. They seem to have originated with a small Russian bakery, but it is now one of the biggest cake trends of the season. A brushstroke cake is a great option because it allows your cake’s decorations to be made from chocolate instead of fondant. The feathery designs can easily be made in any color or size, so you can find natural looking cakes covered in tiny feathers or cakes with thick strokes of feathers that look like abstract art.

4. Geometric Designs

Fruit and flowers are not the only popular wedding cake ideas at the moment. A relatively fresh and modern trend is the geometric designs. These are a great opportunity because they work with any wedding colors, and they nicely match the industrial trends in design

lately. You can find geometric designs made from edible paint, piped icing, fondant, or even airbrushed stencils. Hexagons, triangles, and diamond shapes are particularly popular geometric shapes, but you can also find ones with more abstract trapezoids, chevrons, and lines.

5. Metallic Color Cakes

The metallic trend first got its start around the edges of those geode cakes that were popular last year, but this year it is even bigger. Many cake designers are now creating cakes that look almost entirely metallic. Gold is the most popular shade right now, but copper, silver, and even brass is starting to gain traction as well. This trend is great for brides who want plenty of glamour and sparkle at their wedding. You can use metallic accents on a relatively traditional cake, or you can pair them with a more experimental design. One of the favorite ways to try out the metallic trend is to gently dust the cake with a scattering of edible silver or gold leaf for an iridescent look.

Any one of these trendy wedding cake ideas is sure to impress the guests at your weddings. These designs are all extremely versatile, so they work well for many styles and sizes of weddings.