Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pier 1 Imports. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating. #Pier1OutdoorParty
The kids are home.
It's a time for play dates and having family and friends over.
There seems to be a constant rotation of people coming and going from our house (especially when you have a swimming pool and it's summer), so entertaining with just a few minutes notice is absolutely no problem if you have a few staple items on hand.
Tips for last-minute entertaining:
- Keep it simple.
- Order food if necessary - 4 $5 footlongs from Subway are great and if you cut them into 8 slices, they go a long way. I always try to make one quick dish, but the rest is what I have on hand, ready-made and picked up, or delivered.
- If you have pets, keep the food up high, especially if you cannot stand guard and tend to the food at all times. Use food covers to keep bugs at bay.
- Mix and match. Your table doesn't have to be perfect, or perfectly matching. When shopping for items I tend not to go with an entire theme but mix and match a few different ones, always keeping in mind items that I have at home, that way I can rotate pieces to create new looks each time, especially if I have more time to play around, but have a few staple table decor ideas ready-to-go at a moments notice.
- Keep supplies such as disposable (or melamine, which I love) plates, utensils, napkins and straws on hand - whenever possible try to purchase recycled items, or those that can be used again.
- Don't cut up fruit if you are leaving food outdoors unless you plan on covering it, it just attracts too many bugs. Place out a few options though in a bowl.
- Keep drinks covered, whether you are using mason jars with lids or pretty cupcake liners, bottles, or the fun picnic-themed tumblers (pictured above) that I purchased from Pier 1.
- You don't need to have soda or whip up fancy beverages, just add some fresh fruit and ice to a dispenser filled with water for a refreshing picnic drink. It's the best way for your guests to stay hydrated anyway.
Before heading to Pier 1 to purchase a few more outdoor entertaining items I looked on-line first to see what would go with items I already have on hand, but would bring a new and unique look and feel to the table. This was the theme that I was going for:
As you can see I wanted it to have a picnic and outdoor theme, but make it a little more elegant than actually roughing it. Eventually I will gather more pieces from the collection I put together, but for now, these are the items that I went with:
Note: I find that these impromptu get-together's tend to continue after dark, so having lighting already set up, can transform your space from daytime to evening with the flick of a few switches or the lighting of candles.
Here is the recipe for the one simple dish that I made quickly with what I had on hand.
- 1 box (1lb) Gemelli pasta
- 1 tin garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
- 1 celery stalk (finely sliced)
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- large pinch of pepper
- 2 tbs sweet honey mustard
Boil the pasta according to the package directions (approximately 8-10 minutes). For the last 4 minutes toss in the corn kernels too. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside to cool.
Toss in the garbanzo beans, red bell pepper and celery.
In a cup combine the lemon juice, nutmeg, pepper and honey mustard. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
Pour into individual mason jars and chill until ready to serve.
Have a great party.
Want to purchase some new items to go with your outdoor entertaining pieces? I'm giving away a $25 Pier 1 gift card, so enter below.