It is hard to believe that June is already coming to a close and that July is right around the corner. The 4th is almost upon us, and that means parties, picnics and fireworks galore! I’ve been doing some thinking about my party this year, and you’re invited!

Now, my idea of a 4th of July party is having a big backyard gathering with family, friends and neighbors. The sun shining bright (hopefully!), music playing in the background and everyone sitting around catching up. With this in mind, I can’t have a party that is too complex and keeps me in the kitchen away from my guests; but I also want to present everyone with a delicious meal, great entertainment and of course, amazing decor!

This year I have come up with a more whimsical theme, red white and blue, with accents like shapes and patterns. For my decorations, I wanted something playful, reminding me of childhood, but I wanted to amp them up to an adult-level. I started my search on Pinterest, under the basic search engine of 4th of July. I was amazed with all the options I was given. The biggest standouts for me were the simple DIY pinwheels and firecracker wind chimes. These basic child-like accents were amped up with polka dots and stripes. While I do love the DIY decor, I know I can’t make it all myself, so I plan on buying red and blue balloons, lanterns and candles, white streamers to drape along the deck posts and simple flag banners for my tables to make my table clothes “pop.”

My biggest ambition is my menu. The appetizers I’ll be having are able to be made ahead of time, so that I can also enjoy my party. They include, patriotic chocolate covered strawberries, fruit lollipops and a chips and salsa trio with corn, blueberry and tomato salsas.

As for the entree, I wanted to grill out, but I was tired of the same-old hamburgers and hot dogs. Instead, I decided that this year I will try a taco bar. The option of a taco bar gives guests the opportunity to make what they want. It’ll include four different options to please every palette. The first option is more for the kids, it’ll be just a basic beef. The other three are a little more adventurous. I went to FoodNetwork.com for the recipes. I will be serving a fish taco, a chicken taco and a steak taco. Alongside I will also have fixings like lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, salsa, guac and sour cream. For the sides I’ll be having potato salad, grilled corn (to go with my Mexican entree) and salad greens with different dressing options.

Everyone knows a party is not complete without dessert and special drinks for the occasion. My desserts will be mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries) with homemade whipped cream, a themed vanilla flag cake, and for the kids (or kids at heart), I’ll offer a variety of ice cream sandwiches, cones and Popsicles. My drink of choice is a firecracker punch from Betty Crocker. It is kid-friendly, but if you are of age, feel free to make it your own.

And as the evening winds down, I look forward to the main event: fireworks! I like to give my guests some munchies to take along like small bags of popcorn and candy. Before they leave for the evening, each guest will get a favor to bring along home with them; this year I’m handing out chocolate covered pretzel rods and marshmallows with red and blue sprinkles. Fun finger food that still fits the mood? Perfect!

I know party planning can be intimidating, but I hope I’ve given you an insight on how much fun it can be too! Good luck, and if you ever need any help just drop me a note! Happy planning :)