Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Party Ideas

First observed in 1868 to commemorate fallen solidiers following the Civil War, Memorial Day evolved into a holiday that remembers all in the military who gave their lives in service to the USA.

Although today Memorial Day is mostly about a three-day weekend and the unofficial start of summer cookouts, here are some great ways to incorporate the true meaning of the day into your Memorial Day festivities:


Use plenty of red, white and blue, of course! Decorate with the patriotic color theme with colored carnations and balloons. Mix and match tableware by using red napkins, blue plates and white plastic knives and forks. For a lovely effect at dusk,  backyard lights in patriotic colors will set the mood even as the sun goes down.


Nothing says Memorial Day like an outdoor barbecue of grilled chicken and steaks, shish kebab, hot dogs or burgers alongside fresh macaroni or potato salad. Wash it all down with fresh homemade lemonade or ice tea. And  don't forget the other cool treats of the season with generous slices of watermelon or a heaping bowl of fruit salad.

For dessert, serve cupcakes frosted white with red strawberries and blueberries, or use the same ingredients to make an American flag sheet cake.

Fun Memorial Day Activities

Backyard party games like horseshoes or volley ball are the order of the day, or go fly a kite! (and et Dad take the reigns and show the kids how it's done.) 

And what would Memorial Day be without the music? Load up the iPod or CD player with these Top 10 favorite patriotic tunes:
  1. Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen
  2. American Pie - Don McLean
  3. Stars and Stripes Forever - John Phillips Sousa
  4. The Star-Spangled Banner - Francis Scott Key
  5. Philadelphia Freedom - Elton John
  6. Only In America - Brooks And Dunn
  7. This Land Is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
  8. God Bless the USA - Lee Greenwood
  9. Some Gave All - Billy Ray Cyrus
  10. Arlington - Trace Adkins

More Memorial Day party ideas around the Web:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kids Pirate Party Food Ideas

Where did pirates live for most of their lives? On the high seas, of course!

Serve your hungry swashbucklers fish and chips, or fish sticks and french fries, with plenty of tartar sauce and ketchup.

For land lubbers, you can serve hot dogs or pizza decorated with with toothpicks and paper pirate sails, or serve pigs in a blanket and call them "Pirate Fingers."

Gold-wrapped chocolate coins, goldfish crackers or gummy fish are must-have snacks. Don't forget to include more nutritious tropical island fare (you don't want anyone catching scurvy or rickets!) with fruit kabobs or fruit platters of slice pineapple, oranges, bananas and mangos. (Also see: how to host a luau.)

A watermelon pirate ship is a fun and eye catching idea, and it's easier than it sounds. Fill it up with melon balls and colorul fruit salad and it's guaranteed to please the pickiest pirate.

Wash it all down with plenty of grog (apple cider) foamy root beer or Shark's Blood Punch (any red fruit drink.)

Birthday cake ideas

If you're handy with an icing tube, use your imagination to decorate with a treasure map with a big "X" to mark the spot, or try a chocolate and vanilla icing skull and crossbones. Want spectacular? Try this recipe for a Pirate Treasure Chest Cake.

More about pirate party food around the Web:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Party Hawaiian - Food & Menu Planning

Summertime...and it's time to host a luau! Think the theme is a little too exotic or not sure what to serve? No worries, brah.

Four main ingredients (actually five if you count the rum!) make up the summer's most popular party theme. That is - seafood, pork, pineapple and cocunut.

Let these basic Hawaiian "food groups" flow through your menu from appetizers, main courses to desserts, and you and your guests will be partying Hawaiian in no time.

First, break the ice with these classic Hawaiian luau drinks:

Appetizers - pass around a pupu platter filled with these tasty morsels:

Also, don't forget the bowls of macadamia nuts, or go all out with this dynamite recipe for macadamia nut hummus and chips.

Main course - pork, of course - but a whole pig roast? If you have the time, the patience and the room out in the backyard. go for it! However, here are some easier luau recipes to try without going whole hog:


More about Hawaiin luau party food around the Web:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fast, Easy Graduation Party Food Ideas

Here are some of the quickiest, easiest and most practical ideas for throwing a graduation party without the hassles.

For easy cleanup afterwards, stock up on plastic forks, knives, spoons and serving utensils, paper or plastic cups, plates and table clothes.

Easy finger food suggestions

veggie tray and dip
tortilla roll ups
antipasto tray
shrimp and cocktail sauce (look for the prepacked party trays at your local supermarket)

The main graduation party menu

6-foot long hero sandwiches - from Sam's or Costco.

Two words - Pizza party! Have it delivered.

Backyard garden party - A good idea for morning or early afternoon get-togethers, with guests filling up on finger sandwiches, scones, bite-sized desserts, tea and coffee.

Taco bar - Prepare the fixings the night before. Include shredded lettuce, cheese and tacho shells - set up the meat filling in a large crockpot or on a pan warmer - and let guests serve themselves.

Have a cookout - More work for mom and dad, but several pounds of hamburger and jumbo packages of hot dogs should do the trick. Don't forget the chips, dip and potato salad.

Drinks - Have plenty of ice on hand to fill up coolers with soda, water, beer or wine. Hint: label each cooler so guests know exactly where to find their favorite beverage without asking.

Graduation party desserts - Besides a quick graduation sheet cakes, cupcakes are the easiest dessert to serve. Buy them prepackaged and mound them in a pyramid on a serving tray and let guests serve themselves. Or try your hand at making the ever popular graduation cap cakes.

Your fastest, cheapest bet? Hit your local Dunkin Donuts.

More about quick and easy graduation party food around the Web:

Cinco de Mayo Party Game Ideas for Kids & Adults

You've got the nachos, the cerveza and mariachi music all set for a great Mexican fiesta. But what's a party without the fun and games? 

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, check out some of the best fiesta icebreakers and party games for both kids and adults:

Spanish Word Scramble - Pass out a sheet of jumbled Spanish words and see who can unscramble the greatest number of words correctly. Have pity on those unfamiliar with Spanish by using the most commonly understood words, i.e., casa, mucho, nada, senora, etc.

Find the Worm - Place gummy worms in bottles of water or sodas. The first one to jug-a-lug to the bottom - and eat the worm - is declared the winner.

Pass the Sombrero - A bit like ‘musical chairs’ but instead party guests have to try on a sombrero. Play Mexican mariachi music as the game begins and when the music stops the guest wearing the sombrero is out of the game. For extra laughs, give eliminated players the option to perform a Mexican hat dance to get back into the game. 

Nachos-Eating Competition - Have several bowls of nachos and party dip ready for guests to pair up into teams. One team-member must stand behind the other, acting as their ‘arms’, who must feed the nachos to their partner. The first team to empty their bowl is the winner. Provide bibs and floor covering and be prepared for a big MESS - and loads of great laughs (and have the camera ready).

Mexican Hat Dance - Turn up the mariachi music and have each person place a sombrero on the ground and dance around it. Whoever doesn’t get dizzy and dances the longest wins a prize! Or, hand out several prizes for most original dance, funniest dance or most unusual. 

Fiesta Scavenger Hunt List - Below, some ideas to get partygoers embarking on a Mexican party theme scavenger hunt through the house or the backyard. Set up the game so it can be played either individually or in teams, with each item assigned a point value. The person or team who scores the most points wins a prize! Happy hunting... 
  • sombrero
  • decorated pottery
  • miniature Mexican flag
  • cactus plant
  • tissue flower
  • gold foil covered chocolate “pesos”
  • Mexico map
  • bag of tortilla chips
  • toy maracas
  • box of taco shells 
  • bottle of hot sauce
  • lime
  • avocado

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How to Buy Mother's Day Flowers

The guests have been invited, the food ready and the table set. Forget anything?

Sometimes the most important gift for mom is the last thing on our minds as family get-togethers on Mother's Day are filled with details, details!

Fortunately, the proliferation of flower stands - now often found tucked into unlikeliest of places - have been a godsend for buying last-minute bouquets (and has probably saved many a marriage or family relationship in the process.) Think Walmarts, the local mall, the supermarket, or even outside a local train station.

Here in New York City, probably the quickest way is to walk down the street to pick up flowers at any number of local corner grocers.

Otherwise, keep stress levels low by logging on to order from a variety of top online flower stores offering a bunch of ideas for delivering Mother's Day flowers pronto.

What to order - Mother's Day Flower etiquette

Carnations - The traditional flower for Mother's Day dating back a century or more, carnations in red or pink are the time-honored way of saying Happy Mother's Day. Just don't make the mistake of ordering white carnations, They are the traditional flowers that honor mothers who have passed on. (Embarassing to say the least, and painful at most when mom hits your over the head with them.)

Roses - The more modern tradition, roses have the "wow" factor that carnations lack. They're also faux-pas proof and come in a wider variety of colors. White roses are fine, with a single red rose in the middle symbolizing mom's special place in your heart.

Gerbera daisies - In many parts of the US, these colorful relatives of the sunflower (also known as Gerber daisies) make up the traditional Mother's Day bouquet. Bold, bright and sunny, they outshine regular daisies and always make a more lasting impression.

More about Mother's Day flowers around the Web:

also see in Party Ideas: Mother's Day Party Ideas