Tips for the Perfect Easter Celebration

The Easter holiday is almost here. Are you considering hosting an Easter dinner with family or friends? Take a deep breath and do it. Life is short, celebrate every moment without hesitation. Gathering friends and family around the dinner table is all you need for a joyous occasion.

Tips for a Perfect Easter Holiday

Depending on your individual tastes, an Easter dinner can be formal or casual. Preplanning will help you Easter day celebration go smooth. Consider the following tips to assist you as you plan the perfect Easter celebration.

1. Guest List

Creating a guest list is necessary to help you plan. Due to the short time frame, you may need to make some phone calls or use the Internet to help. If your guests are on Facebook, consider making a private event page to help you plan. The creation of an event allows you to invite your guests, correspond about the meal and other activities.

2. Menu

After confirming the number of guests, planning the menu should be your next step. Menu planning can be extremely elaborate or simple

  • Cater: Local restaurants generally offer catering service for the holidays. Catering allows you to leave all the cooking and baking up to the restaurant. If you decide to cater, call as soon as possible to ensure availability.
  • Cook Yourself: Cooking and baking a large meal is a lot of work. But the personal satisfaction of a job well done is the best reward. Take the time to plan the meal, shop ahead of time to ensure you have all the ingredients, and enjoy the process.
  • Pot Luck Style: Easing some of the cooking demands, ask your friends or family members to bring a dish to pass. A variety of dishes can actually add to the holiday fun.
  • Desserts: If you do not have time for a full course meal, consider a dessert bar. Invite friends and family over later in the evening after they have met their family commitments.

3. Decorations

Decorating your table or home always adds to the holiday cheer. The decorations do not need to be elaborate. Making decorations is a perfect family time experience. Using construction paper, consider making placemats, name cards, or a centerpiece.

If you are doing decorations, your imagination is the limit. Pinterest and other crafting sites show all sorts of Easter decorating ideas. Due to time constraints, purchase decorations or Spring flowers for your centerpiece.

4. Kid Stuff

How many children are going to be at your event? Do you have a plan to keep them busy while you make last minute preparations? Keeping children busy with holiday-related activities, allows you to concentrate on cooking without worry. Children love to create and take items home. Setting up a children’s area or planning outdoor activities is the perfect solution.

  • Host an Easter egg hunt.
  • Easter coloring books and crayons
  • Dye Easter eggs
  • Set up a crafting table with Easter themed supplies
  • Make small Easter baskets to hand out as take-home gifts

Hosting an Easter dinner does not need to be stressful. Planning and asking for help from friends and family will help you have a joyous occasion.

Celebrating Christmas on a Budget

The holiday season can leave your wallet or pocketbook feeling empty. For many individuals on a tight budget, the joyous holidays can quickly turn into stress-filled days. Stay in the holiday spirit by participating free or low-cost activities.

  1. Attend Christmas Parades

Numerous communities have Christmas parades. The electric light parades show off vehicles with hundreds of Christmas lights and music. The parades mark the beginning of the holiday season for the local community. Most parades end with the appearance of the big man himself, Santa Claus.

  1. Go to Community Events

Along with parades, many communities host Christmas events. Often the city official will provide Santa Clause a key to the city. Or the local commerce hosts a tree lighting ceremony. Check with:

  • Museums
  • Art Council
  • Community Centers
  • Libraries
  • Parks

Many host Christmas tree decorating contests, breakfast with Santa and other low-cost events.

  1. Go to Church Events

Regardless of your religious beliefs or affiliations, attending a multitude of church events may put you in the holiday spirit.

Depending on the church, the events may include:

  • Cookie Walk
  • Community Sing-a-long
  • Caroling
  • Midnight Services
  • Live Nativity Scenes
  • Christmas Programs
  1. School Events

Many schools and colleges host special Christmas concerts and plays. Many are open to the public. Other programs may require the purchase of admission. Allowing you to enjoy a night of holiday entertainment, the low-cost ticket is worth the price.

  1. Volunteer

Christmas brings many needs to the community. Taking time out of your busy schedule to volunteer may actually put you in the holiday spirit.

Volunteer ideas include:

  • Toy Collection Sites
  • Soup Kitchens
  • Nursing Homes
  • Local Chamber of Commence

At this time of the year, many churches or other charitable organizations create and distribute gift baskets to people in need. The organizations generally need help making the baskets up and delivery.

  1. Host a Movie Night

Host a Christmas movie night or one a week. Check out listings on your local television stations or watch a DVD. Consider making a special treat popcorn, pizza, cookies or hot chocolate can make the night more memorable. Movie nights can include just family, friends or a combination. During the holiday season, more the merrier often helps in acquiring the Christmas spirit.

  1. Make Homemade Decorations

Making homemade decorations is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Paper chains, salt dough ornaments, and other inexpensive materials are wonderful to add crafty decorations to your home.

  1. Search for Christmas Light Displays

Driving around looking at Christmas displays can create a magical evening. Some homeowners go all out for their displays, thousands of lights, Nativity scenes, Santa Claus on the roof and so much more.

Small moments to celebrate the holiday season may result in the best Christmas memories.

Stay Home: Tips for Enjoying a Long Holiday Weekend

Many Americans use the long Labor Day weekend as a chance to hit the road to their favorite travel destination. More and more individuals are opting to forego the hustle and bustle of holiday travel. Keep in mind, staying at home does not have to be boring. Use the time to relax or enjoy activities close to home. The simplistic nature of staying at home may be the best decision for you and your loved ones.

Tips for Enjoying a Stay at Home Weekend

  1. Unplug

Make the decision to spend time away from the computer. Everyday work, school or personal commitments keep you online. Even though you are staying home, act like you are on vacation.

  • Set your email message to out of town or out of the office.
  • Put your cell phone on vibrate.
  • Check your cell phone sparingly.
  • Stay off social media.
  • Leave your work at the office.
  1. Go Outdoors

Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer. Use the time to go outdoors for activities other than lawn maintenance.

  • Go for a walk.
  • Go for a hike.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Go canoeing or kayaking.
  • Soak up the sun.
  • Lay in the hammock.
  • Watch the sunset while enjoying your favorite beverage
  1. Be a Local Tourist

When many people think of tourists, images of far off places come to mind. Be a local tourist. Holiday weekends usually bring special events. Using a little research of your hometown area, you may find enough activities to keep you busy all weekend.

  • Go to an art gallery.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Attend an outdoor concert.
  • Watch a parade.
  • Go to the local, state or federal park.
  • Attend a local fair or festival.
  1. Family Night

Hosting a family night is a great way to relax and spend time with your loved ones. Family nights can be a quiet evening with a movie or night out. Involving everyone in the final decision helps make the evening more fun.

  • Backyard camping
  • Pizza night
  • Movie marathon night
  • Special dinner night
  • Game night
  • Music night
  • Special activity night, for example, laser tag or bowling
  • Slumber party night
  • Complete a family project
  • Volunteer as a family

Using your imitation, the types of family nights are endless.

  1. Host a Party

Impromptu parties or barbeques create a last minute event. You are not alone in staying close to home on a holiday weekend. Ask family and friends to come over. Due to the last minute planning, go old school with the menu. Ask everyone to bring a dish to pass. The variety will be a refreshing break from a themed or planned menus.

Lack of funds, family commitments, or just a desire to relax without worrying about packing and driving, everyone has a different reason for staying home on a holiday weekend. Whether you decide to go out or simply relax on the couch all weekend, enjoy your decision to stay home.

Celebrating Harry Potter’s Birthday

I am a full believer in celebrating life. Small celebrations bring lasting memories. Every day our daily schedules and commitments keep us busy. Enjoying little moments is a necessity. For fans of the Harry Potter series, myself included, today, July 31st represents the fictional character, Harry Potter’s birthday. Along with Harry, J.K. Rowling celebrates her birthday today too.

In the book, Rubeus Hagrid provides Harry with a birthday cake on his 11th birthday. The simple scene from the Keeper of the Keys immediately ushers us into the magical world of Harry Potter. Why not incorporate his birthday into a family fun night? Or invite your friends for some magical fun.

  • Consider making a quick birthday cake as a special dessert treat.
  • Gather the family or friends around to watch the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • Make wands.
  • Eat chocolate frogs.
  • Create your own owl, cat, or toad.
  • Have special snacks or cook an entire meal based on the Wizarding World’s cuisine.
  • Make magical themed crafts.

    Melt pony beads on old pizza pans to create large Harry Potter inspired sun catchers.
  • Need a quieter activity, reread the Harry Potter series or listen to the audio versions.

In a couple weeks, school, homework, sports and enforced bedtime routines will be part of your already full schedule. Take a moment to enjoy the little things and celebrate “The Boy Who Lived”.

Reference:

Rowling, J. K., Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury Children’s, 1997.

Last Minute 4th of July Outfit Ideas

Did you get a last minute invitation to a 4th of July event? Or perhaps, you have been procrastinating all weekend on finding the perfect, comfortable outfit to wear. Do not worry; you still have time for creating a last minute 4th of July outfit. Under most circumstances, you may already have the accessories in your closet. If not, with a little creativity, last minute deals or a quick trip to a local dollar store is all you may need.

Fun 4th of July Outfits

BBQ, an evening bonfire, fireworks or hanging out with friends, the 4th of July should be a memorable occasion. Worrying how you look should be the last thing on your mind. Pick out some comfortable clothing and have fun. Life is short. Celebrate it.

Can’t Go Wrong with Red, White, and Blue

Picking out red, white and blue clothing to mix and match is the perfect 4th of July outfit. For example, a red t-shirt, blue jean cut-off shorts, and a white bandana is the perfect, easy combination. Or you can simply get a little creative.

  • Paint a T-Shirt: Grab a white t-shirt. Using fabric paint, add patriotic sayings to the shirt. “God Bless the USA” or a simply “Happy 4th of July” instantly transforms your shirt. Get creative, along with sayings; add stars, the US flag and more.
  • Customize a T-Shirt: Many local department stores have 4th of July themed t-shirts for minimal costs. In order to stand out in the crowd, customize your shirt. For example, cutting fringe around the sleeves or bottom of the t-shirt will make yours stand out from others with the same one.
  • Add Beads: If you decide to add fringe to your t-shirt, consider adding beads too. Pony beads have a large opening to pass the fabric through with ease. Securely tying red, white or blue Pony beads to the end of the fringe is the perfect addition. Pony beads are an inexpensive accessory.
  • Grab the Sharpies: Coming in a broad spectrum of colors, permanent Sharpie Markers are fantastic. For added fun with your 4th of July t-shirt, grab a couple of your favorite colors. Ask friends or family members to sign your shirt. At the end of the evening, the shirt full of signatures instantly becomes a memorable keepsake.
  • More Beads: Pony beads make excellent necklaces, bracelets, and ankle bracelets. The large colors will stand out bold on a sunny 4th of July day.
  • Ribbon: Grab some red, white or blue ribbon out of your craft box. If you are wearing your hair up, consider a braid or two. Intertwine the patriotic colors through the braid for extra flare.
  • Scarves and Bandanas: Inexpensive scarves or bandanas from your local dollar store are the perfect accessories for your outfit. Wearing a patriotic scarf around your neck or pulling your hair back with a bandana, helps complete your outfit.

When creating your 4th of July outfit, have fun. The outfit is about you. Allow your individual personality to shine brightly on this patriotic holiday.

Tips for Hosting an Outdoor Party

Summer is the perfect time to host an outdoor party. Keep in mind, an outdoor party does not require an official event. Life is short; celebrate it. Yes, celebrating a birthday or special occasion outdoors would be the great way to spend a summer day. At the same time, gathering friends or family members over just to celebrate summer is another great way to spend an afternoon.

Tips to Host the Perfect Outdoor Party

1. Planning

Begin with preplanning to help reduce the stress of hosting a party. By taking the time to write down notes and ideas, you will find hosting an outdoor party an easier task. Consider purchasing a spiral bound notebook to hold all your party planning information. Notebooks are inexpensive. Keeping all the details in one location will be extremely helpful.

2. Guests

Planning the party should begin with a guest list. In your notebook, write down all the guests’ names. The number of people on your guest list will help determine the amount of food and beverages to purchase. The list will also provide you with a general idea of the size of your outdoor party.

3. Invites 

Sending out invitations is a vital component for hosting an outdoor party. In today’s technological era, you actually have options in sending out invites.

  • Traditional Invites: Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is on social media. Traditional invites may be sent through postal mail to guarantee the potential guest receives the invitations.
  • Create an Event Page: On Facebook, you have the option to create an event. The process is simple. You will be able to send out invites to multiple guests at one time. As you get closer to the day of the party, you will be able to use the Facebook event page to determine the number of people attending your outdoor party.
  • Text or Email: Sending a text or email with all the details is quick, easy way to invite guests

4. Menu and More

Planning a detailed menu is essential for hosting an outdoor party. Menu planning ensures your outdoor party has a variety of food.

  • Type of Food: Consider a themed or potluck approach to the menu. Often, your guests will be more than happy to bring a dish to pass.
  • Grilling: If you are grilling, ask a friend or family member to be in charge of the grill. Use safety precautions in handling raw meat to eliminate the chances of cross contamination.
  • Beverages: As you plan the food, remember to add the beverages to the list. Provide the basics including tea, lemonade, and water. If you want to serve alcoholic beverages, designate a responsible person to serve.

Along with the menu, plan other aspects of the party.

  • Games: Outdoor games are a great way to entertain guests.
  • Children Area: If you have children on your list, you may want to design an area just for them. Games, outdoor chalk, bubbles, art area, and other activities will entertain children.
  • Photographer: Hiring a photographer allows you the chance to enjoy your party. A photographer will be able to capture the memories. Under some circumstances, an amateur photographer will photograph the party at a discount to gain the experience.

Along with the menu, the party set up area needs planning.

  • Location: Where will you host your outdoor party? The location is important. If you are hosting at a local park, you may need to rent the pavilion in advance. Or if you are using your own backyard, you will need to prepare to accommodate your guests.
  • Table and Chairs: Where will your guest sit? Rental pavilions usually come with picnic tables. For your backyard, you will need to consider the seating arrangements in advance. Borrowing or renting picnic tables, tables, and chairs will ensure every guest has a place to sit at your party.
  • Food Area: Where are you going to serve the food? Warmer summer months mean food risks spoilage or contamination. As the host, the last thing you want is your guests becoming ill. Consider using children’s pools or other food holding containers to place colder items in. Pack lots of ice around the cold items to ensure the proper temperatures. If you are grilling, handle raw meat with care.

6. Have Fun

Hosting an outdoor party is supposed to be fun. Do not allow the stress of hosting ruin your day. Consider delegating friends or family members to help. Allow yourself plenty of time to mingle and chat with guests.

7. Cleanup

After the outdoor party is over, cleaning up is the last step. For easy cleanup, provide trash and recycling containers in the party area. Most individuals will abide by the rules and throw items away in the proper area.

 

Ice Cream Soda Day

Today, June 20, 2017, is Ice Cream Soda Day. Celebrating small unofficial holidays is a chance to enjoy every single day with a special twist. Let’s face it, the start of summer is always a fun and exciting time. Unfortunately, after being out of school for as little as a week, you may already hear those words, “I’m bored.” Taking advantage of the various unofficial holidays helps in chasing away the summer boredom and creates lasting memories.

Ice cream floats is a wholesome party idea. Consider hosting an impromptu ice cream soda party with friends and family. Or simply make ice cream sodas as a special treat for a warm evening. Regardless of the reason, enjoy the day.

Ice Cream Soda Ideas

The beauty of ice cream sodas is the endless mixtures. Providing a variety of flavors is a perfect way to host a successful ice cream soda party. Using cans of soda is ideal for eliminating wastes and saving money. Picking up different flavors enables your guests to mix with no limits. Larger bottles are great for bigger parties.

Consider these combinations to help create the perfect ice cream soda party.

  • Root Beer Float: Vanilla ice cream and root beer
  • Orange Dream: Vanilla ice cream and orange soda
  • Cherry Vanilla Fun: Cherry ice cream and crème soda
  • Chocolate Vanilla: Chocolate ice cream and crème soda

Along with ice cream, you may want to offer sherbet as an option to replace the ice cream. Some people may not be able to eat ice cream. Finding alternatives allows everyone to have fun.

In addition to ice cream and soda, offer toppings for extra fun.

  • Sprinkles
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Whip cream topping
  • Cherries

Adding toppings is half of the fun in building the perfect ice cream soda. Have fun creating.

Celebrate the End of the School Year

Time marches by quickly. Embrace the daily triumphs. Ending a school year is a milestone in your child’s life. Not to mention, you deserve recognition for last minute school snacks, homework help, field trips, and on some days simply getting your child to school on time. As the last day of school arrives, take the time to celebrate. The celebration can be a simple family dinner to a large party with your child’s friends.

End of the School Year Party Ideas

If you are uncertain how to celebrate, ask your child for input. Often your child’s idea may be something you would have never thought about as a fun way to celebrate. Or you can consider any of the following:

  • Special family dinner
  • Family game night
  • Trip to the local bookstore to purchase books for summer reading
  • Backyard BBQ
  • Pool party (if the weather permits)
  • Backyard beach party
  • Comic book, princess or other theme parties
  • End of the school year theme party
  • Trip to the local ice cream shop
  • Dinner out at your child’s favorite restaurant
  • Pizza party
  • Video game night
  • Arts and crafts party
  • Outdoor games party
  • Trip to the park, zoo or other local attraction
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Movie night
  • Picnic in the park or your own backyard

Knowing your child’s likes and dislikes, the possibilities are endless. A simple ice cream pie to celebrate the end of the school year may easily become a lasting memory.

 

 

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