{ Summer Fun }

In this month's issue of BHG, is an outstanding list of 40 Fun Ideas for great summer get-togethers. Below I have listed my favorites from that list! Time to get ready for that Summer Fun!

1. Bring the beach to your backyard. Use a colorful beach towel as a table runner. Line a tray with crafts store beach glass and candles. Jennifer Sbranti, HostessWithTheMostess.com

2. Ask guests to bring a favorite summer book or two to swap at the party. It's a conversation-starter, party activity and take-home gift all in one.

3. Instead of cramming everyone around one table, put out a large blanket on the lawn and let kids eat picnic-style, while the adults enjoy some peace and quiet around their own table.

4. Delight every one's inner child by setting up a lemonade stand - no charge this time around - at your next party. Sever plain and flavored lemonade in big glass jars. Set out chunks of fruit for skewering, plus ginger syrup for a flavor twist. For the grown-ups, try a lemonade spritzer: Mix 1 part sparking wine with 2 parts lemonade.

5. Lights give an evening party instant ambiance. Take your holiday string lights out of storage and run them along fences and deck railings, in tress and around trunks. For a high-impact display, hang a cluster of globe shape pear lanterns from tree branches with fishing line.

6. A few extras can turn your basic backyard setup into summer party central. You probably already have a table, chairs and umbrella. Now add melamine dishes in a fun pattern, stack able chairs to seat a crowd, and lanterns and citronella torches to light the night. Set a color palette to guide your purchases, but don't be afraid to go bolder and brighter than you would indoors. Summer gives license to play.

7. Dress up store-bought frozen treats with cute drip catchers: Cut a small slit in the bottom of a cupcake liner and pull the stick through.

8. You don't need a pool or a fountain to have a water feature. Galvanized drink buckets with floating candles, flower heads or glass balls do the trick - a lot of impact for a little money.
David Tutera, My Fair Wedding

9. Pack Madelaine cookies, which are shaped like seashells, in a cellophane bags, or fill votive candle holders with saltwater taffy or jelly beans in tropical flavors. Set one at each place setting as dessert or a sweet take-home gift.
Amy Atlas, Event designer

10. For each table setting, cut the stem entirely off a huge mum and center the flower on the dining plate. Stand a place card up within the petals.
David Stark, Event designer

11. For a no-stress centerpiece that looks good all season long, pot warm season annuals in a low, colorful bowl that has drainage holes.

12.Instead of place mats, put each place setting on its own tray. It looks great, plus it makes cleanup so much easier.

13. After your next get together when the outdoor dishes are clean, pack them away in your cooler. They'll be ready and waiting for your next backyard bash, plus you won't have to make space in your kitchen for summer-only gear.

14. To keep track of drinks, use labeled straws. Write each guest's name n two round stickers and sandwich a straw between them.

15. Make drinks special right down to the ice cubes. Freeze orange juice or other fruit juice in shaped ice-cube trays. Add the cubes to iced tea or sparkling water for a flavor boost.

16. Set out a tray filled with things guests might need during the course of the party, such as mini tubes of sunscreen and bug spray.

17. For good old fashioned fun at your party, break out the lawn games. Croquet, lawn darts, and lawn bowling are good no-sweat options. Award prizes to the winners.


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