Tag Archives: party

Top 9: End of Summer BBQ Accessories

Must have Summer BBQ Party Accessories

As summer is winding down to an end (and since we have deck renovations on our brains) it’s time to start thinking about squeezing in as many summer BBQs as possible before it’s time to make apple pie and eat Halloween candy!  We love to host parties, and when you can add in a little summertime weather and food on the grill – well, that’s just perfection.

Here are my Top 9 accessories for that End of Summer BBQ!

1. These Heat Resistant Corn Holders are colorful and fun! We have some golf ball corn holders, but these would be a fun change!

2. I love these drink dispensers from Crate and Barrel. Something like this drink dispenser feels excessive and something too large to store. But I still love them! And it’s nice for large parties even just for water, instead of needing to refill the water pitcher several times throughout the night.

3. Adding lanterns, twinkle lights or globe lights adds a little extra whimsy to the ricketiest table, burned hamburgers, and even helps you deal with the mosquitoes a little bit longer.

4. Every backyard party needs a good yard game! Ladderball is one of our favorites! (Other acceptable options: Croquet, Bocce, Kan-jam)

5. We have the Butter Boy! People always laugh and wonder what is sitting on the table. But it’s so much easier to butter corn with it and it’s a cute little man in overalls! How can you go wrong?

6. You can’t look too far without seeing another mason jar craft / trend / decor idea. But let’s get back to what mason jars were originally used for – catching fireflies!! I have so many memories of summer nights catching fireflies after dinner. Take your BBQ back to the basics and see how many you can catch (and let go – of course).

7. Every party needs some good tunes! We have a Soundfreaq - a portable bluetooth music player. You can charge it when it’s plugged in, sync it to your iPod, and haul it around the party, the yard, wherever you go!

8. These DIY Slipknot Rope napkin rings from Lemon Tree Dwelling would dress up any old napkin!

9. BBQs call for big platters to pile on hotdogs, piles of corn on the cob, or for the spread of burger toppings. I am always drawn to the melanine platters by FrenchBull because they are so much fun! Everything a BBQ should be.

What’s your favorite thing about BBQs? What do you put on your hot dog? I’m a ketchup girl.

Check out the end of summer party I posted on last year!

Top 9: Farewell Party to Summer

Farewell Party to Summer

Dinner Menu for a Lumberjack Party

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

If there is any “rule” in my book to hosting a dinner party, it’s don’t make it too complicated!

What’s the point of preparing and hosting a get-together if you’re going to miss it all?

For our Lumberjack Party I knew I wanted a hearty menu to live up to the ruggedness of the theme. What’s a universal man meal? Meat and potatoes.

Lumberjack Menu: All Recipes/Links in this Post

  • Turkey Chili
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread
  • Maple Bacon Cupcakes
  • Maple Flapjacks Cupcakes
  • S’mores on a Stick
The best part of this menu? I made most of it 1-2 days before the party to minimize day-of preparation craze.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party
I made two pots of chili – a traditional tomato based chili with beans and ground turkey. I also made a white chili broth-base with chicken and cannellini beans.

Turkey Chili Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb ground turkey
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3  15oz cans kidney beans
  • 2 15oz cans black beans
  • 1 15oz can Mexicorn
  • 60 oz diced tomatoes
  • 30 oz tomato puree
  • 30 oz water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 5 tsp taco seasoning
  • 4 T sugar
  • Tabasco to desired taste

Brown the turkey, garlic and onions first, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.

White Chicken Chili Recipe:

Modified from the Tennessee White Chili at FoodRepublic.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds diced chicken breast
  • 3 15-ounce cans cannellini beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 15oz can Mexicorn
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 container chicken broth, to desired consistency
Saute the chicken, garlic and onions first, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes were the easy solution to the potato part of the meal. After I scrubbed some yellow potatoes, I wrapped them in aluminum foil. I cooked them on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 90 minutes.

Since I made the chili two days in advance, an hour before the party, I stuck the chili on the stove and the potatoes in the oven. Everything was self-serve.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

I created a toppings bar on the sideboard of our dining room:

For the Toppings Bar

  • sour cream
  • shredded cheddar
  • chopped up bacon
  • black beans
  • diced chives
  • assortment of hot sauces.
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Cornbread

I rounded out the meal with some Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. I made Jiffy Cornbread, adding 2 de-seeded, diced jalapenos and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar per box of corn muffin mix. (For our party I made 3 boxes). Cook per box directions.

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Beverages

I had several bottles of water on the table and several bottles of pop in the fridge. I also picked up some fun drinks: Maine Root Handcrafted Soda-Pop in Blueberry and Mandarin Orange (YUM! The Blueberry is my favorite. We discovered it at my cousin’s Maine wedding this summer!), Angry Orchard Ciders and some Summer Shandy (hopeful thinking – it’s almost summer, right?)
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Recipe modified from The Fresh Fridge – for in-depth directions, check out her tutorial.

Maple Bacon Cupcake Batter: (This recipe yielded 24 cupcakes)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (I replaced 1 tb with bacon fat)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

**NOTE: Keep an eye on these cupcakes while baking. I over-baked mine just a touch. Due to the maple sugar/brown sugar consistency it’s harder to tell when they are finished.

Maple Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

Candied Bacon

Fry bacon as usual in a frying pan – add brown sugar to pan while frying. Watch carefully to prevent burning. When finished separate bacon to dry and harden. I chopped into smaller pieces for the cupcake topper. I used 8 slices of bacon.

I sprinkled the tops of the cupcakes with cinnamon and plopped the cooled-down bacon on top.

A Lumberjack Birthday Party

Maple Flapjack Cupcakes

I’ll post on this separately – basically it’s just sugar cookies and maple chocolate frosting. I’ll share my technique later!
A Lumberjack Birthday Party

S’mores on a Stick

(This time I used chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers.)

Suffice it to say, we were all stuffed…. and candied bacon is dangerously easy to make.

Could you eat a bacon cupcake? Everyone was freaked out to try it, but I think they liked them!

A New Year’s Eve Game Tradition

We started a new New Year’s Eve tradition last year.

I write down six questions.

Questions about what we are proud of in the year that is ending and what we look forward to in the year to come.

A New Year’s Eve Game Tradition - DesignLively

Then I fold them up and write a random time on it – spreading them out within the hours.

A New Year’s Eve Game Tradition - DesignLively

Then I put them somewhere we will see them – last year I taped them on the wall, this year they are nestled into our tree.

A New Year’s Eve Game Tradition - DesignLively

We keep an eye on the clock and when the time arrives, we open up the question and all give an answer.

It’s a fun game to play with a group of people, or if it’s just you and a friend.

Happy New Year!

P.S. I just found our old apartment keys and couldn’t bear to throw them away. So now they hang on our tree! Can’t believe it’s already our second Christmas in this house : )

A New Year’s Eve Game Tradition - DesignLively

Now I must go… I have several of The Pioneer Woman’s recipes calling my name… and Martha Stewart’s double brownies. Good thing my resolution to eat well again starts tomorrow! : p

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

A Vegetable Garden Baby Shower

A few weekends ago my lovely friend Eva, who blogs at La Vie Urbane, and I threw our friend Johanna a baby shower.

Our friend, the mom-to-be, just finished getting her Nutrition degree and is a vegetarian/mostly vegan, and cooks the most delicious and unique dishes! The vegetable theme started as a joke… and it stuck!

We decided to use a yellow and green color scheme to keeps things springy (with the added advantage that I own a lot of yellow and green items already). We also added some blues into the mix since a baby BOY is on the way!

The shower was a luncheon. Instead of using a traditional centerpiece, we were inspired by the decorations at this baby shower.

The cascading circle streamers are made of regular white copy paper and fishing line. They were simply taped on with scotch tape and then hung at varying lengths to the chandelier.

And of course no vegetable shower is complete without lots of fresh goodies! We served quiche, cucumber sandwiches, pesto pasta salad, fruit tarts, yogurt parfaits, lemon bars, carrot cake muffins, and vegetables, of course!

Eva made these adorable soup can vases and filled them with daisies. They were spread throughout the house along with candles in ball jars from her wedding.

Sidenote: I can’t believe it was only a year ago that I threw her a Bicycle Bridal Shower! Seems like ages ago!

The sideboard was decorated with more vegetable seed packet artwork. The BABY frame is made out of letters cut from regular paper and backed with scrapbook paper.

200 points to anyone who noticed we have upper doors on our sideboard cabinets now! Another post for another day.

The mantle was decorated with my wedding accordion wheels (the DIY gift that keeps on giving) and a new bunting (tutorial to come).

In keeping with the seed theme, I purchased a few terracotta pots and straw raffia from the Christmas Tree Shoppe (I like to buy reusable party decor items). I printed out the B-A-B-Y-! circles and taped them to wooden rods. Then I cut out green leaves and taped them to the stick. Nothing fancy here people!

We also made some beloved Tissue Paper PomPoms. We hung them from tension rods that were put inside the window molding. (Anything to protect all my freshly painted window trim! I know I’m not alone!)

We played a few party games, including a Baby Predictions game. And all the guests wrote inside the cover of a children’s book as a memento for Mom and Dad.

On their way home, guests grabbed a bag of Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn. If you didn’t hear me singing it’s praises on Friday, hear me now!! YUM!

The funniest part of the day was while we were making the food. In the bag of carrots we found what appeared to be a pair of legs and a little carrot booty.

We had a wonderful time celebrating!

And why is watching your friends open gifts nearly as exciting as opening them yourselves?

We played the “clothespin game” where you weren’t allowed to say the word “cute”. Let’s just say I wasn’t in the game for long when the gifts started being opened!