How to Throw a Lovely Garden Party on Labor Day

Celebrate Labor Day and say farewell to the summer that was by throwing a pleasant garden party for friends and family. Here are a few tips on how to throw a quaint and marvelous get-together right in your own outdoor space:

A Lovely Location for a Party
Photo by Devonshire via flickr. CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0.

1. Send out Invitations

Make sure to send out personal invitations to friends and family. Almost everyone makes plan for the Labor Day weekend, so it’ll be great if you get confirmations early on. Don’t forget to attract them with delicious dishes and good company.

2. Organize a Great Menu

Juicy and Tangy Ribs
Photo by stevendpolo via flickr. CC BY 2.0.

Food is the star of any gathering, so prepare something truly sumptuous and filling. For starters, prepare this delicious and refreshing watermelon feta salad with mint from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. For the main entrée, go for something smoky and delectable. Fire up the grill and prepare this mouthwatering sweet and tangy barbecue ribs from A Sweet Pea Chef. Everyone will go back for seconds with this juicy and irresistible entrée.

A Yummy Turkey Burger
Photo by isab3l via flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

For a different spin on the classic American burger, try these Hawaiian turkey burgers from Taste of Home. As a side dish, prepare this hefty serving of potato and cheese puree from The Galley Gourmet.

Delcious Sangrias
Photo by divya_ via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

For drinks, these classic sangrias from Smitten Kitchen will perfectly complement the amazing food.

3. Prepare a Charming Dining Space

Set up a couple of tables and comfortable chairs. Make sure to place mats for a more elegant and sophisticated look. For the food, it might be better to prepare a buffet table. This will make it easier for the host to distribute the food and drinks. Make sure to serve a wide selection of drinks, including beer and wine for the adults, and different kinds of sodas and juice boxes for the kids.

A Great Buffet Table
Photo by Cambridge Brewing Co. via flickr. CC-BY-ND-2.0.

At the same time, the guests can easily stand up and enjoy seconds to their heart’s desire. Also, hire someone to put up a tent for the occasion. This might come in handy if it becomes too hot or if it starts to rain.

4. Prepare Games for Children

Some of the kids might get bored while the adults immerse themselves in their lively and engaging conversations. To avoid this, prepare a couple of board games that will occupy their time. Classic ones like Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, and Sorry are surefire hits. For something a little more challenging, set up a Ping Pong table or volleyball net so that your kids can play a match or two. This is also a great way for the kids to make friends.

5. Enjoy the Company of Friends

After all the preparations have been made, it’s time to sit back and relax. Introduce people to one another. Spark up interesting conversations. Relive the fun memories of summer. Just enjoy! At the end of the day, it’s all about good people coming together.

Throw a wonderful garden party to cap off the summer and celebrate Labor Day with these tips from Tree Classics.

Celebrating with Tree Classics: 12 Ways to Christmas in July

If you’re eager to celebrate the holiday season with the exuberance of summer, then you’ll love our ideas for Christmas in July! What better way to cherish all the wonderful memories with friends and family than with a get-together that also lets you soak up the sun. Get ready for some midyear cheer. Fluff your Christmas tree, serve up some eggnog, and kick-start the merrymaking with Tree Classics’ 12 ways to Christmas in July!

12 Ways to Christmas in July

Have a Fun Summer Potluck with the Neighbors

As the summer sunshine becomes too hard to resist, people are becoming more eager to get out of the house and mingle with each other. You, too, can take advantage of the fine weather to make new friends: spearhead a summer potluck! A neighborhood get-together gives you the chance to cultivate good relations with the members of your community. Here are four easy steps:


Tropical Patio by Milford Appliances Clarke

1. Gather Your Neighbors

A little morning chit-chat while you walk the dog or bring in the paper will do wonders when you are trying to get your neighbors on board. The best approach would be to hold a small afternoon tea at your porch or in your kitchen so you can begin asking them specific details, such as what day of the week they would be available for the event. In the process, you might even be able to learn a little more about them: what work do they do, or what recreational activities would they be interested in.

2. Plan the Menu as a Group

And since this is a potluck, you can take comfort in the fact that you do not have to prepare all the dishes. But as the party host, your job is to provide the venue, invite the people, and make sure everything goes according to plan. So how exactly does menu preparation foster good will among neighbors?

They begin to understand each other’s taste preferences. Not everyone may agree on the same choices. But the beauty of a potluck is that it allows everyone to contribute to the group what they themselves enjoy – from the food to the activities – while being able to take part in a community affair.

Create a general guide to give your guests more freedom to pitch ideas. Divide the menu into segments: 1) main dish 2) sides 3) beverage and 4) dessert.

If there are neighbors who would rather not cook up a dish, give them the chance to contribute by decorating the venue, organizing games, or coming up with party favors.

3. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

At the event, remember to relax and chat with your neighbors. Since summer potlucks are more of a collaborative effort, people are more laid-back than they would be at dinner or cocktail parties. No more fussing over dessert running out or having to wear fancy outfits (unless, of course, party guests are required to wear a costume!). By the time everyone has gotten a plate full of heartwarming treats, guests will begin chatting away. And once their tummies are happy, they will be ready to take part in all the festivities.

4. Give a Little Extra Treat

The best way to make friends with neighbors is to express some thoughtfulness. While others may volunteer to bring party favors, you can prepare your own set of giveaways. It can be anything from a souvenir photo of you and your guest to baskets of homemade treats. If you can, give it a personalized touch. Note the person’s favorites, such as sweets or trinkets, early on and hand them something they would truly appreciate and remember your summer potluck by.

Cultivating good relations with your neighbors through a summer potluck is a fun task in itself. At the end of all the festivities, the best part about fostering camaraderie with them would have to be witnessing your friendship grow.

Tree Classics Weekend Fun: 5 Benefits of Kite Flying

After a long and busy spring, it’s time that you unwind and take in the beautiful summer sunshine. What better way to de-stress than through a classic activity: kite flying. Tree Classics shares with you five great benefits of letting these colorful aerial wonders take flight.

Relieving Stress

In today’s fast-paced world of high-tech computers and complicated electronic gadgets, people get stressed out quickly. Spending hours working on and with devices can take a toll on the mind and body. To combat technostress, a simple hobby such as kite flying comes in handy. 

Kite flying may not depend on sophisticated technology. A sturdy thread, your kite, and the wind are all you need. But it allows you to forget the anxieties of the world. 

As you watch your kite while it is in the air, your mind focuses solely on making it stay in flight. When you end up ignoring the distractions in your environment, your mind enters into meditation. While you’re doing this, both your mind and body start to relax. 

a kite
Photo from Jonf728 via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Sharpening the Mind

Ever wondered how monks are able to stay calm even in the most challenging of situations? This is because they have reached a state called mindfulness, and it can also be achieved through kite flying.

But learning how to focus isn’t the only benefit of this activity. Because kite flying entails mastering maneuvers and performing them over and over, the whole process improves memory and learning, based on a research study by the American Psychological Association.

a man and his kite
Photo from heatheronhertravels via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

Keeping the Body Fit

While most enthusiasts of kite flying will tell you that you don’t really need to run to make your kite fly, you’ll find it difficult not to. If you’re used to being confined in a four-cornered office all day, you’d want to soak up the freedom that the outdoors accord you.

Run around and break a sweat as you let your kite fly through the air. This will help improve the blood flow in your body as your heart rate begins to rise. Your breathing will become better as your lungs adjust to the oxygen intake while running.

Socializing with Others

One unique thing about kite flying is that it is a social activity as well. In countries, such as China, Japan, and the United States, hundreds of kite flying enthusiasts gather in festivals and competitions. Their common love for the sport allows them to bridge age and even cultural gaps.

A beautiful kite is also an excellent conversation starter. It’s a good reason to create fond memories with loved ones or strike up a friendship with a fellow kite flyer at the park or beach.

making a kite
Photo from stevendepolo via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Communing with Nature

Similar to fishing and camping, flying kites allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Working all day in an office exposes you to too much artificial sunlight from lamps and too much processed air from air conditioners. These weaken your body. It’s about time that you pull yourself away from work and reconnect with the earth.

Heading off to a park or beach to fly kites will not only allow you to bask under the sun and take in natural air, but it will also let you enjoy the sight of clear blue skies and lush green trees. According to a study by the Oxford Journals, communing with nature helps promote a positive outlook in life which eventually leads to a healthier mind and body.

kite festival
Photo from New Brunswick Tourism | Tourisme Nouveau-Brunswick via flickr. CC BY 2.0

The simplicity of this activity and the carefree attitude it fosters make kite flying the definition of sheer summer fun.