We threw a little outdoor dinner party Saturday night, and I had lots of fun bringing a little southern-inspired charm to our own backyard.
Our menu included smoked barbecued brisket, homemade potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, fruit, cherry pie, and cupcakes. A classic Americana feast.
We served the meal family style in our backyard around a table adorned in red gingham, mason jars, and American flags. The table was simple to put together and included a piece of fabric as a tablecloth, some festive plates and utensils scored from a clearance rack after last year's holiday, and mason jars filled with sand and small flags as a centerpiece. I made a favor for every place setting that included a star-shaped rice krispie treat, three blueberries, and a strawberry stuck through a bamboo skewer. While I really made these for the kids' table, I noticed that every adult skewer was clean by the end of supper.
I had some fun creating some festive 4th of July souvenirs for the kiddos, including these easy mason jar sippy cups and red, white, and blue wand streamers. For the mason jars, I purchased a pack of the wide-mouthed pint mason jars and a few sheets of scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. I simply removed the lids of the jars and used the top lid to trace circles on my paper. Then, cut them out, replaced them with the top lids, and screwed them into place on the jar. I found these adorable pinwheel straws in the dollar bin at Target, and used a knife to poke an 'x' on the paper before inserting the straw. The kids loved them and my mind was racing with other ideas and schemes you could dream up with a simple pack of mason jars.
I've made these dowel streamers for many occasions, including about 250 of them for my wedding six years ago. Just buy some dowels at your local craft store, talk your husband into cutting them in half with his table saw, and give them a quick coat of white craft paint to make them look a little more complete. Then, visit the ribbon aisle of Hobby Lobby when they're having their 50% sale, and go bananas over the options of ribbon. I always add some curling ribbon for a cost savings, and found a spool of this red, white, and blue star streamer to add some color and pop. Cut the ribbon at equal lengths, add a drop of Elmer's glue to the top of the dowel, and tie the ribbon around the glue in one big double knot.
Our post-dinner party events included three boys with guitars, a campfire to keep the bugs at bay, and two sweaty (one pants-less) cherubs taking turns on the tricyle and swing. Now if only my dad would learn to play the banjo...
As the sun set in the sky and we neared closer to the boom of fireworks in the distance, we settled in for what may be my favorite summer creation to date. I've been itching to try an outdoor movie night for a few summers now, but always leave it off the bucket list for fear that I didn't have the equipment I needed to pull it off. But after our neighbor's blessing to use the side of their garage, a queen-sized white sheet from our linen closet, a projector, and a few sleeping bags later, we had ourselves the perfect setup for our very own movie theater under the stars.
I was giddy with excitement over this wonderful little discovery. The picture was clearer than I ever expected, and I loved that our neighborhood was illuminated with the blue reflection of a movie and the hum of Despicable Me. Beau popped us popcorn and the whole family watched, the kids piled on sleeping bags and pillows, eyes glued to the screen the entire show. I foresee many outdoor movie nights in our future and hope our neighbors get used to a bed sheet hung to the side of their garage ;).
Oh summer nights, why can't you stay forever?