I know today is July 13th, but I’m just getting around to talking about the 4th of July….you see I had decided that I was NOT GOING TO THROW A PARTY. Not that I don’t like to entertain, but well, Hubs had clearly said “WE ARE NOT GOING TO THROW A PARTY”. We’ve had a few nights of hosting, and I think he might have been a little over worked from it them all….
Anywoooo, I sent an email out to our family basically saying “WE ARE NOT GOING TO THROW A PARTY”….
However, we will be going to our neighborhood parade, celebrating at the park festival, and then back at our house for lunch and pool in the afternoon…
And that I was planning on having a pulled pork for anyone that wanted to be there. Anyone was welcome, “BYO whatever,” and we’ll see ya there. No fuss, no frills, no fancy…no party.
Then I washed my hands of it all and went on my merry way.
Come July 4th, our fabulous extended family showed up right around lunch with fruit salad, Cuban corn, lemon tarts, fruit tarts, wine, beer, snacks and fixin’s. I really couldn’t complain. Then my fabulous and amazing Mother-in-Law caught me with one from left field.
MIL: “If we have the pork for lunch, what’s for dinner?”
Oh, right, the 4th of July goes into the evening…as in fireworks…as in not just a day event. Now in her defense, what she was getting at was that we had PLENTY of aps, so let’s just snack and save the pork for dinner. Except that I had timed the pork for lunch and it was hot and ready to go. And really, since Hubs had asked that we not THROW A PARTY, I just hadn’t thought through the day.
This is when a party can either turn out REALLY well, or you can over work yourself and it turns out, well, not so well.
Here are my tips:
1. Go with what ya got. People will love the improvising more than your fussing. In this case, I saved everything non snack like that everyone had brought, and pulled 2 flank steaks from the freezer, tossing them in a bag with Stubbs marinade. Grabbed a bunch of zucchini from the garden to grill and to make fritters. Done and done.
2. Don’t be afraid to pull out paper plates and plastic utensils. I keep a cute can that holds both ready at all times. And I’m not afraid to use them.
3. Use parchment paper. I could say that I like to use either white or brown parchment paper because it makes everything look nice (line a chip basket, line a paper plate, etc) but truthfully, it’s because it makes cleanup a breeze. (OK, not true – I do it for both reasons.) Then I (or whoever is kind enough to clean up) just tosses everything into the trash.
3. Use a tablecloth and cloth napkins. This of course is not mandatory, but it always seems to dress up the paper products to me somehow. I don’t normally iron them either. Just pull em from the dryer as soon as they’re finished, fold em and put em away. I’ve even been known to ask the Punks to help me pull raffia napkin rings on freshly laundered napkins so we can just pull them out ready when we need them.
4. Accept help and delegate. Everyone wants a job to do, so give them one. Let someone set the table. Ask your brother in law to take the trash bag outside, or refill the drinks. Let someone open & pour wine. If it’s not a formal party, it’s totally OK. I’ld probably do it at a more formal affair too. The more guests help out, the more easy going and fun it can be for everyone.
Loved this Cuban corn my mom brought. It came highly recommended from a friend.
Grilled corn from the garden (Piper’s friend above), topped with herb butter.
Tastiest squash fritters EVER. Using the giant zucchini…it fed an army!
Fruit salad always pretties up a table.
Nothing fancy. Just simple things that made it feel like a party (even though we were NOT THROWING A PARTY.) The punks got in a little “Cars” racing too. It was a SERIOUS race I tell ya!
The perfect ending to the night??? That came from Dad’s lemon tart. Kinda looked like an American flag, don’t ya think? All in all, sometimes the perfect parties are the ones not planned. And since we were NOT THROWING A PARTY, I’m going to chalk this one up to a win!
Enjoy your summer, don’t stress over the details, and remember the fun is in the moment!