When it comes to holidays, the goal isn’t to outdo yourself and get lost in the kitchen for hours, while the rest of the group has an amazing time. It is about throwing together what you have so you have time to ENJOY the event, while being a great hostess.

When I first got married my goal in life was to impress and wow my guests. I would start cooking in the kitchen the day before the big day, and then spend the next 24 hours setting up elaborate trays, displays, and over the top buffet set-ups so that my guests felt special and uplifted. Nothing was left undone. Everything down to the plates, food and napkins were perfect. I would even sew cotton table cloths out of sheets to coordinate with the event (actually I would have mom do that, but I’d be a crazy psycho to her until it was finished!) And I would run around in chaotic pandemonium the day of the event making sure everyones drinks were full, had plenty of ice, the food was perfectly displayed at all times, and NO DIRTY dishes were in sight. Sounds exponentially pleasant doesn’t it? By the time we actually got through dinner, I was so strung out from stress and running around that my legs could barely keep me upright. It would take me days to recuperate and this is when I was in my twenties! Unfortunately for my guests, by the time I hit 30, I was no longer able or willing to do my elaborate soirees. I wanted to sit down, have a stiff drink and giggle with family about silly memories…..memories that may or may not have included my methodical crazed entertaining skills from my youth.

For this fourth of July holiday here are some of my best entertaining tips to help you enjoy the day, all while playing hip hostess with the mostess!

1) Simple Serving:

Silverware displays

From a soft place, this photo is a great example of how I set up my buffets. I like to take old mason jars, or mayonnaise jars and fill them up with silverware. This is a great way to display a little extra color with the festivities (by adding fabric scraps to the jars, or construction paper) Kimba used a mason jar for each guest, but I like to throw a bunch of forks, knives and spoons in each jar individually and each guest grabs what they need. We all have jars laying around and scraps of paper or fabric. These are quick and easy to throw together and look great!

Another great tip-if you don’t have fabric or paper to use, fill them with inexpensive soup beans, or layer colored salt (use your kids chalk to color it) and put your silverware on top. Voila, elegant, fun and EASY!

2) Drink:

AB HOME Mojito

Picnic on the fourth from epicurious

A wonderful idea from epicurious.com, take fun and decorative napkins and make them the show piece of the table. Take it a step further and have the kids gather up some rocks, sticks, twigs, leaves, ribbons, twine or rope and add it to the decor. It can be used as the napkin holder, decoration or both! To add more flare and color, add some decorative cobalt blue hurricanes down the center of the table.

Great tip:Don’t have time to go out and buy blue hurricanes? Take brown paper sacks used for kids lunches and insert candles. Write fun 4th of July facts on the bags for your guests to discuss! Fun and easy!

I hope all of you have a fantastic 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July


images: a soft place, epicurious, Boulder Colorado government