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Posts Tagged ‘Parties’

Pot Luck Recipes ~ Pasta Salad

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Pot lucks are a very popular way of entertaining during the hot months of summer.  It  not only eases the burden on the hostess, but is a fun way for everyone to try different types of food and new recipes.  This is one of my favorites!

Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz bow tie pasta or tri-colored spirals, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 can hearts of palm, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and seeded
  • grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and seeded
  • 1 container mozzarella balls


  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • pepper, to taste

Combine all the items in a large serving bowl, toss with dressing, and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.  You can make this a main dish item by adding cooked chicken or shrimp!

Hosting A Summer Outdoor Party

Friday, July 9th, 2010

One of the best parts of summer is the nice weather which makes it possible to have outside parties.  I love entertaining and have found since having kids we do it a lot more informally.  But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a lot of work involved! Backyard parties are fun for adults and kids.  Being prepared is crucial, you don’t want to be running around looking for the wine opener after the guests arrive!


  • Wipe or hose down all patio and outdoor furniture including any toys the kids will be using.
  • Buy paper or plastic plates, utensils, and cups.
  • Buy plenty of ice.  Make sure you have drink ice and cooler ice.  Ice down sodas, beers, and juice.
  • Use plastic tablecloths for the food area.  Have tape or weights to keep it from blowing away.
  • Have blankets or towels  available for extra seating.
  • Have bottle openers and wine openers available.
  • Tidy up!  Make sure all important toys are safely tucked away.  Get that pile of mail out of the way.
  • Stock the guest bathroom with lots of toilet paper.
  • Have receptacles for trash AND recycling outside.
  • Have lots of paper towels on hand to clean up spills or dirty children.
  • Make sure there is a shady area for guests who are too hot or don’t want to sit in the sun.
  • Do not stage all the food and drink in one area, spread it around.
  • Block off all areas of the house or yard where you do not want people to be.
  • Contingency plan – you never know when the weather will turn on you!


  • Plan a menu that includes plenty of appetizers and snack foods.
  • Keep the main course simple with as much prepared ahead of time as possible.
  • If using the BBQ, make sure it is out of the way of the kids play area.
  • Have a dessert that does not require an additional plate (think cookies, brownies, rice krispy treats)
  • Lots of drinks including juice boxes, sodas, water,  lemonade, beer, and wine.  Make a fun punch or some sangria.


  • When guests enter, point them in the direction they should go or everyone will end up in the kitchen!
  • Offer drinks to the guests and point out the areas with kids drinks and adult drinks.
  • Be on the lookout for empty serving dishes and refill.  Find a friend to help with this.
  • Relax and talk to your guests, you don’t want to be busy the whole time and not enjoy the party!

And then there is the clean up.  Having the trash and recycling cans outside can help make this easier!

The Play List – Songs For All Ages Gatherings

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I love music.  I have all kinds of playlists on my IPod, but have a special mix for occasions where I know the attendees will span the generations (my family has four living generations).  When you get the entire family together the ages can range from infant to seniors and let’s face it, some of the music we like isn’t necessarily appropriate for this type of occasion. Try for a nice mix of oldies, classic rock, contemporary rock, and pop.  Get some great stripped down acoustic versions of those harder rock songs you like.  If there are children, remember to leave out anything with explicit lyrics or even adult themes.  You probably don’t want to explain to little Susy what a Golddigger is at your next family party!

Music for a party should be in the background so make sure the volume it set so your guests do not need to shout at each other to hear, at this includes grandma! There will always be time to rock out later. If you have a portable speaker, this can be a great way to shift the music if the party will move to another area.

Here is a list of a few songs that work for family parties, holidays, or any occasion with a wide variety of ages:

Jame s Taylor – Sweet Baby James
ColdPlay – Clocks
Billy Joel – New York State of Mind
Simon & Garfunkel – America
Time Of Your Life – Green Day
Van Morrison – Someone Like You
I Can See Clearly Now – Jimmy Cliff
Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra
Alanis Morissette – Head Over Feet
Better Than Ezra – Good
Eagles – Take It Easy
Elton John – Tiny Dancer
Sarah McLachlan – I Will Remember You
The Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday
Sting – When We Dance
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
Elvis Presley – Don’t Be Cruel
The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody
Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
The Beach Boys – Surfin USA
The Beatles – Twist and Shout
Dave Matthews Bank – Crush
Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young – Southern Cross
REM – End Of The World
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – American Girl
The Who – My Generation
38 Special – Caught Up In You
Ben E King – Stand By Me
Big Bad Vodoo Daddy – Go Daddy O
Blues Traveler – Run Around
Bobby Day –  Rockin Robin
Boston – Amanda
Chuck Berry – Johnny B Good
Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World
Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway
Joe Cocker – You Are So Beautiful
Jack Johnson – Flake
Goo Goo Dolls – Slide
Four Season – December 1963 (oh what a night)
Enya – Only Time
Drifters – Under the Boardwalk
Counting Crows – Mr. Jones
America – Sister Golden Hair

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