It has been one whole year since Thomas and I dove into the crazy, wonderful world of homeownership! The first thing a house teaches you is that nothing goes as planned. Well, almost nothing. The moment the contract was finalized on the house, the idea was sparked in my mind to host an Independence Day party. Maybe it was that we bought the house right around that holiday last year or that it is within walking distance of the city fireworks show. Either way the idea had been in the back of my mind this whole time and I was so excited that it was actually able to happen this past weekend!
Thinking of an event a year in advance didn’t mean that things had to get complicated or over the top. A lesson I learned from our wedding is that the simpler things are, the more you can enjoy the people and make memories. Carrying that into our summer cookout, here are three ways we kept things enjoyable simple this year:
FOOD: Two words, people. Pot. Luck. Oh, that’s only one word? Great! Even simpler 🙂 I asked our guests to each bring a dish or two, while we took care of the meat. Grilling is great because any marinade can be whipped up the night before and it keeps the day-of cooking simple. The few sides and desserts I did put together were all things that could be made the night before. Food tastes great even when it’s not gourmet.
DECORATIONS: The best thing about Independence Day is that you can count on people to dress festively. With so many people walking around in such color, I considered my decorating quota complete. Every where I looked, I was reminded of the patriotic holiday we were celebrating. And talk about easy clean up! The guests leave and your yard to back to its normal non-patriotic self.
ACTIVITIES: Borrow! No pressure to own every yard game known to man. A cornhole set came from inlaws and some of the guests brought their own games as well. Our other activity for the little ones was an idea from my Dad – using leftover cookies from a dessert dish for decorating! Using what you have around you is so much less stressful than trying to come up with crazy, new ideas that need a lot of prep. Plus, the main activity for cookouts is really just eating, right?
At the end of the evening, we did take advantage of our house’s handy location and walk over to the big city fireworks display. It was great to avoid the parking and driving home on busy streets nightmare. Also, this was my first chance to try my hand at photographing fireworks with my DSLR – stay tuned for the results!
What is your favorite way to celebrate Independence Day? How do you keep parties and cookouts simple and enjoyable?