Thursday, June 28, 2012

{A Little Inspiration: Fourth of July}

So with the Fourth of July sprinting upon us, Alex and I are getting ready to host our second annual Fourth of July Backyard Barbecue. This is what happens when you have the only pool in the family! 

Anyhoo...we love, love, love hosting parties at our house...and I especially love all of the details that go into having a little sware! I thought it would be nice to share a few shots of our party last year, as well as a few of our tricks for hosting a stress-free party that your guests will remember! 

WARNING: the quality of these pictures are terrible! I tried to edit them as much as possible, but the pictures themselves were take on our old point and shoot camera and they are horrid. So sorry in advance! 

Okay so let's start off with the party printables. Some of you may have no idea what I'm talking about when I say that word, but you soon will be obsessed with them! When I say party printables, I mean all of the paper products you will need for a party that you can print off yourself. I pretty much only use free printables...yes free! I have used them for Forth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, and Mother's Day. 

This is my favorite website for free printabels! They have an entire page of free printables for literally every holiday you could desire! I go to this website for all of my printables needs, and they never disappoint! 

I got the free backyard barbecue printables for our Fourth of July party from this amazing website! The printables are here an here.  Chris Nease is an absolute dream, and I adore her attention to detail! She's a girl after my own heart! You should definitely check her out when planning your next party. 

Okay, so now lets get to our First Annual Fourth of July Backyard Barbecue. And remember...terrible pictures! Sorry...I'll try to get better ones this year!! 

So we always set up our dessert bar in the front window. So here's the set up. 

We did Shortcakes because they are so summery and light. I made homemade shortcakes using Bisquick. We then served them with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries as well as fresh whipped cream. 

I got the little paper bowls and napkins at Hobby Lobby for 50% off and still have a ton more for this year! 

I am a huge believer in fresh flowers. I think they make a party feel special. So I picked up an inexpensive bouquet of red roses from Kroger and then cut some fresh hydrangeas from my mom's garden.  These are my absolute favorite vases! They are Kate Spade from Macy's so go and check them out, but I use them all the time!! 

We always do super simple drinks. We did lemonade, tea, and then waters and soft drinks. We had the water and soft drinks in a metal bin outside by the pool, and the other drinks inside. 

I kind of went drink "bedazzle" crazy! I got all kinds of things for people to garnish their drinks with and I think I was the only one who used them :) I also made a super simple mixed berry syrup to add to the lemonade if people wanted. 

All I did was boil equal parts sugar and water until the sugar devolves {I did 1 cup.} Let the "simple syrup" cool completely, and then blend with frozen mixed berries. Wha-La! Mixed berry simple syrup. Delicious in lemonade! 

Now for the food table. I'm a complete slacker for not getting a photo of everything on the plates...but here's the set up. 

As far as decore goes, I walked around out house and found all of the red and blue books I could{which just happened to be Harry Pottery books mostly} and used them to stack things. I also bought two inexpensive spools of red and blue ribbon and tied them on everything I could! I decided to wrap up our silverware for easy carrying, so a little twine wrapped around a Fourth of July napkin did the trick. Easy peasey! 

We did "gourmet" hamburgers which just means that we had a bunch of different types of cheese to add to the burgers! The cheese slices went on the leveled server. I bought cute little grill bowls from Pier One for $1.50 each and filled them with the ketchup and mustard. Then I had an apothecary jar filled with Smarties...the kids favorite item for dinner! 

Here's a little stress-free hosting tip: You do the main course and dessert and let everyone bring sides! It makes life so easy! 

Another tip is set up a couple days early. I always set up everything at least 2 days early, and then I can really enjoy the day! 

Alex went a tad firework crazy, so we had quite the show that evening. I also got some of those popper things and glow bracelets for the kiddos.  I used a Samford yearbook to decorate and some red glass jars that I got at Hob Lob for under $5.00 each! 

This was my embarrassing thing for the party...totally spelled "Fourth" wrong. It was a sad moment in the life of this teacher. 

We also had S'Mores fix-in's ready, but I don't think we even got into them. We were too busy swimming and sparkler-ing.  

And here we are right before the fun! We were so excited for our first party as a married couple! Can't wait for this year's fun...even if I am a little gimpy! 

Now go and get your free printables!! Stat! 

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