Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: workerbee on June 11, 2012, 01:27:27 PM

Title: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 11, 2012, 01:27:27 PM
We recently bought a house with a pool and are looking forward to hosting our first 4th of July party! I'd love some advice on planning -- I am trying to keep it somewhat casual, but we have a lot of people we want to invite. Some with kids (we have two - 4 and 2) and some younger couples.

Right now the party is scheduled for 12-4pm.  I would like to have an 'open house' atmosphere, with people free to drop in as they please, and stay as long as they like -- is there any way to convey this in the invitation?

As far as food, we are thinking we'll provide hot dogs, ice cream, and beer/wine/lemonade/tea. Is it tacky to suggest that people bring a favorite side dish?

Thanks in advance for your ideas!
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on June 11, 2012, 01:39:03 PM
When you say "a lot" .... is that around 25-30? I think for menu planning fellow ehellions may need better breakdown of numbers. For ex, 20 adults + 10 children under 10 yrs old.

Activity wise you have the pool.  We also have one. I stock up on pool toys at the dollar store or big lots prior to a party? Is this your first pool to own? There are some preventative tips if so.

Don't be surprised if they don't leave by 4p, even though the next day is a work day. Or maybe it's just my family that overstays.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Hmmmmm on June 11, 2012, 02:06:11 PM
To convey that it is an open house, just say that.

Fourth of July Open House
Come by anytime between 1 and 4
The pool will be open and the hotdogs on the grill.
RSVP by June 22nd


For casual get togethers with neighbors/friends you host often, I'd be fine suggesting bringing sides.  However, for an open house, I'm not sure it's feasible.  Some people wlll think 'Oh, we're just dropping by for  minute and don't plan to eat so won't take anything."  But they get there early, only one other person has brought some chips and they snack away and you don't have enough. 

I'd have additional munchies out and plan to provide at least a large amount of potatoe salad or baked beans as a side dish.

I think most will ask if they can bring something when they RSVP and then you can say "sure, if you'd like.  What were you thinking of bringing?" 
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: lowspark on June 11, 2012, 02:08:35 PM
You can just call it an "Open House". People should know that means to drop by whenever and stay however long.

As far as bringing side dishes... I'm not sure how practical that is in an open house situation. Essentially the first ones to arrive will have fewer choices of sides (since many sides will arrive later) and the later ones to arrive will end up bringing things that don't really get eaten (since those who arrived earlier already ate).
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: EmmaJ. on June 11, 2012, 02:14:12 PM
Have someone posted as a lifeguard - please!  Especially if you don't know the swimming skill level of the visiting kids.

I had to jump in a pool (fully dressed) and grab a kid who was flailing on the bottom of the deep end.  I still shudder just thinking about it.

Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Zilla on June 11, 2012, 02:40:40 PM
I second the idea of assigning one or two persons as a lifeguard to man the pool at all times. (they can give each other breaks)


Since you are calling it an open house, I can't see you asking for side dishes.


I would just get a few platters of snacky foods in addition to what you have,
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 11, 2012, 02:55:28 PM
Thanks all! These are great suggestions so far -- I like the idea of a lifeguard. It had occurred to me, with toddlers running around. The pool itself has a safety fence (in addition to the fenced backyard), but you can never be too careful! I'm usually pretty vigilant, but will likely be distracted with hosting duties, etc. I'm sure one of our regular babysitters would be interested in a little extra cash....

As far as numbers, I'm thinking we will likely invite around 25-30 people. It's hard to know at the moment how many will actually attend, given that people often have plans for the 4th. I'm thinking since the holiday is on a Weds this year, people may stick around home and be interested in the party! Mostly adults, maybe 8 children (including our own) from ages 2-5.

Good point about the side dish vs. open house thing....I guess maybe the two are incompatible. I'll have to give that some thought. Of course I would plan to have a couple of additional sides (baked beans, chips, etc) available anyway. I was a bit worried that suggesting they bring a dish was somewhat.....ungracious? But maybe that's not the case?
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Zilla on June 11, 2012, 03:02:33 PM


Good point about the side dish vs. open house thing....I guess maybe the two are incompatible. I'll have to give that some thought. Of course I would plan to have a couple of additional sides (baked beans, chips, etc) available anyway. I was a bit worried that suggesting they bring a dish was somewhat.....ungracious? But maybe that's not the case?


If you want to have people bring a side dish, I would label the party as a Potluck Party instead of Open House.  Then you can suggest bringing something. 
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: lowspark on June 11, 2012, 03:46:47 PM
I don't think it's ungracious to ask for sides. You're supplying the main dish, dessert & drinks, plus your house & pool. Calling it a potluck & asking for sides is fine.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: jpcher on June 11, 2012, 05:42:37 PM
I don't know that I would ask people to bring sides.

I'm not sure why . . . maybe because it's your first party with these people? Maybe that's a bit weird. But that's just me. :-\

Of course, if anybody offers to bring something, there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking them up on their offer.

I don't think your menu needs to be extensive . . . plenty of hotdogs, chips/dips, beans, probably a potato salad and/or a coleslaw (make sure you have a way to chill these all afternoon) or a fresh-veggie tray  . . . add a sliced watermelon with the ice cream and you're good to go.



Great idea on hiring the babysitter for the pool area!

HOWEVER! Does she have any life guarding experience/training? Make sure the parents know that she is not solely responsible for their kids . . . Let the parents know that if their child is in the water, they need to be in attendance as well. (Water safety is extremely scary with little ones.*)

Make sure your babysitter is well supplied with fresh drinking water and that she gets a short break every hour or so.

Also, you might want to have a supply of sunscreen on hand.



*I, too, had to jump into a pool fully clothed while my DDs were being "watched" one-on-one by two teens. The one teen watching DD#2 (3yrs) swam away to grab a ball, leaving DD#2 sitting on the in-water steps. When I looked up DD#2 had her head under water and her arms out, several feet away from the steps. Yes. Probably the scariest moment in my life.

And, yes. I posted that to scare you. It only takes a moment.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Thipu1 on June 11, 2012, 07:09:20 PM
Having hosted 'Open House' parties that ran from 10 AM to 8 PM, I feel that I can speak here.

Make the opening and closing times of the party clear.  Saying that guests may come, 'any time between 1 and 4' means that at least a few will show up at 3:59.  They will expect food and access to the pool until the fireworks go off at 10 PM. There are no fireworks?  Bummer!

Keep the alcohol on the low side.  Pools, hot sun and alcohol don't work well at all.

Especially with young children involved, the pool must be well policed at all times.  You don't want a guest to get into trouble.  You also  don't want half-eaten hot dogs floating around in the water. 

Invest in some side dishes.  Cole slaw, potato salad and a big bowl of greens don't cost much and can go a long way.  A pot of beans can also be good.

Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: QueenofAllThings on June 11, 2012, 07:40:37 PM
POD to lifeguards. Unfortunately, with so many adults around, many assume that someone else is watching. Hire, and pay, someone else to  do it.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: kudeebee on June 11, 2012, 11:54:29 PM
To convey that it is an open house, just say that.

Please join us for our first
Fourth of July Open House
Starts at noon, ends at 4 p.m.

The pool will be open (parents will need to be in the pool with their little ones)
Hotdogs  will be on the grill.

RSVP by June 22

I made just a few changes.  I would be very clear about start and especially the stop times.  I would also indicate right on the invitation that parents will need to be in the pool with their little ones--that way the parents will come prepared with swimsuits.

I would add simple sides as suggested by others--chips/dips, veggie tray, fruit, cole slaw or potato salad.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Dorrie78 on June 12, 2012, 06:41:52 AM
I agree with the others about adding some sides of your own. Is this your first party in your new home? Will the attendees know that this is a new home? I ask because people may view this as a housewarming party and may bring small housewarming presents. If that is the case, I would really think twice about making it into a potluck. Just doesn't sit right to me - I think I would want to entirely host that first event in my new house so that I wasn't uncomfortable if someone showed up with a gift and a side dish.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: bopper on June 12, 2012, 08:57:54 AM
Quote
The pool will be open (parents will need to be in the pool with their little ones)

This is good. This is what we did when our kids were little and they wanted to swim.  We always had a parent in the pool so they would be watching the kids. (we took turns).

Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: EMuir on June 12, 2012, 10:14:50 AM
For food safety, you can't really ask people to just bring "a side".  How would you know how much ice you'd need for the cold dishes, or how many crockpots you'd need for the hot ones?  You can't just leave sides on the counter for four hours.  And certainly not outside in the sun!

I agree tht setting a definite end time is good, and if you really want everyone gone by 4, say it's from 1 to 3pm.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 12, 2012, 12:06:08 PM
OP here. I really appreciate all your responses -- it has definitely given me some things to think about.  As someone noted, providing an array of simple sides would not be difficult to do, and I am leaning that way. If anyone asks, I can encourage them to bring something, but I won't make it part of the invitation.  Among our circle of friends/acquaintances, most are likely to show up with drinks in hand, at a minimum.

When we entertain, I generally set up food buffet-style in the kitchen, and people can bring their plates outside to the patio. That way the food isn't just sitting outside.  I guess taking charge of the side dishes myself would afford me better control over the options, layout, keeping things cold, etc!

We've lived in this house for a couple of years, so no worries about people misinterpreting it as a housewarming!

I will definitely put an end time -- probably 12-4. I don't really mind if people hang around a little longer than that (truth be told, my in-laws are notorious for that anyway, but I just put them to work watching the kids while I clean up!  >:D). With the open house idea, what I was trying to address was those people who might not want to stay the entire time -- I'm thinking of older neighbors who, say, would love to drop by and say hello, but aren't interested in swimming or staying out in the sun too long!
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: EmmaJ. on June 12, 2012, 01:02:10 PM
Oh, I just thought of another thing when you mentioned cleaning up.  You're probably going use disposable plates and cups?  Put a big garbage can lined with a heavy-duty plastic liner near the patio.  Folks are much more likely to clean up after themselves if they know where to put the trash.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Sophia on June 12, 2012, 01:11:51 PM
My baby was born July 6th so I expect lots of July4th parties in my future, and I am paying attention to party ideas. 

You didn't mention cake, but they are very easy to decorate for July4th even for someone who can't neatly frost a cake.  Buy blueberries and strawberries (in season then).  Slice strawberries and place in a star pattern on of the cake.  Fill in the star with blueberries.  Instant ooohs.

Maybe have three pitchers of drinks out.  a red drink, ice water and something containing blue kool-aid.  Red, White and Blue!
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: jpcher on June 12, 2012, 07:01:00 PM
I will definitely put an end time -- probably 12-4. I don't really mind if people hang around a little longer than that (truth be told, my in-laws are notorious for that anyway, but I just put them to work watching the kids while I clean up!  >:D). With the open house idea, what I was trying to address was those people who might not want to stay the entire time -- I'm thinking of older neighbors who, say, would love to drop by and say hello, but aren't interested in swimming or staying out in the sun too long!

Hmmm. Interesting point with the bold above.

When you're (general you) invited to a party that is between 12-4, do you feel obligated to get there at start time and stay for the entire party?

I've been to many a party where it just wasn't possible for me to stay for the entire time. Likewise I've had many guest show up for an hour or two and left before the end time stated on the invitation. I don't think that any of these situations are rude at all.

This type of party is much different from a dinner party type of deal where cocktails/appetizers are from this to that time, dinner will be served at 7:00 . . . that's a more formal situation.


OP -- I understand your reasoning, but I think you're perfectly fine leaving "Open House" off of the invitation.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Amara on June 12, 2012, 07:03:16 PM
OP, this is a disturbing article ( http://gcaptain.com/drowning/?10981 ) on what real drowning looks like but the information is incredibly valuable. If you can afford it maybe consider hiring real lifeguards for the duration of the party.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: jpcher on June 12, 2012, 07:43:25 PM
Excellent article, Amara.

It only takes a minute.

In my case I thought that I was perfectly responsible. I watched TeenAge friend swim out (in the shallow end -- 3 ft.) to get the ball. I saw DD#2 happily sitting on the steps. I went back to my conversation.

A few seconds later I looked back, saw that DD#2 was several feet away from the steps and thought "How cute. DD#2's trying to see how long she can hold her breath under water" even before that thought was finished . . .  DING-DING-Sirens! Major bells. OH NO!

Once I pulled her out of the water, stood her up and put her hands above her head, she coughed up a bit of water and started to cry. At least she was breathing.

To this day, I'm petrified to think what would have happened if I didn't look back.

Please be extra diligent with the little ones in the pool.




Sorry for the derailment, OP . . . Amara made me do it!
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: kareng57 on June 12, 2012, 08:00:53 PM
OP, this is a disturbing article ( http://gcaptain.com/drowning/?10981 ) on what real drowning looks like but the information is incredibly valuable. If you can afford it maybe consider hiring real lifeguards for the duration of the party.


Agree completely except for one thing - I'd say, *find* a way to hire a real lifeguard, rather than if-you-can-afford-it.

As a PP said - in a large group situation, even very conscientious parents tend to gravitate towards feeling that someone else is looking out for the kids.  Why not contact your local community centre about hiring a young lifeguard privately?  Even if it's around $20 an hour, it's worth the peace of mind.

Re the side dishes - I wouldn't ask, but you could always indicate on the invitation what you'll be providing, and that if anyone wants to bring anything else to share that is always welcome.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 13, 2012, 09:17:49 AM
Thanks for all the ideas - keep them coming! This party is definitely....evolving.  :) Actually, after reading some of your responses and talking with DH last night, I am rethinking how we want to do this.  As he put it, "maybe we should just make this an adults-only party OR a kids-only party" -- meaning we either pare it down and invite just our close friends (without kids), or invite a few select families.

I am very aware of the risks of owning a pool and the need for vigilance, especially with small children (this would probably explain why we have not only a locking pool safety fence, but also an in-water pool alarm, AND childproof doorknob locks on all the doors leading to the backyard).  I also understand how easy it is to get distracted at a party.

I think maybe we are overextending ourselves, and our "vision" for a neighborhood/friends open house may not work this year.  There will be plenty of years when the kids and their friends are older to do it!!

So now the question is -- do we invite our 'couple friends' (those w/out kids) or do we invite our 'family friends'?? Who would have more fun?  :)
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: lowspark on June 13, 2012, 10:01:44 AM
Well.... since you ask, I'll throw out my opinion.

I'd do the adults only party. And then pick non-holiday weekends to have over your friends with kids, doing one or maybe two families at a time. So with the smaller kids, a more intimate setting, less party-like and easier to keep an eye on kids in the pool.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Klein Bottle on June 13, 2012, 03:50:31 PM
I think for a summer holiday like the Fourth, a "family-type" party, with kids present, might be more fun for y'all, especially since you have littles of your own.  (If you were child-free, my advice would change.)  Some of my happiest childhood memories are of us all gathering at the lake or the Gulf, friends and families all with kids, and of us kids just having a ball playing in the water and running around while the adults supervised and visited.

Anyway you decide, it sounds like a LOT of fun.  My next house WILL have a pool; for some reason, I have never had one, although I love to swim & down here, we could use it much if not even most of the year.    ;D 
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: doodlemor on June 13, 2012, 08:38:52 PM
Your party sounds like such fun, workerbee.  It makes me wish that we had a pool.

Do you have a place for dripping people to change back into their clothes after swimming?  I'm sure that most guests would be very courteous and not make a mess, but after reading ehell I'm sure that there are careless people out there.

How about wet people who need/should use the bathroom inside? 

Do you have extra towels, in case people forget them or get them too wet to use?
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 14, 2012, 07:56:35 AM
Your party sounds like such fun, workerbee.  It makes me wish that we had a pool.

Do you have a place for dripping people to change back into their clothes after swimming?  I'm sure that most guests would be very courteous and not make a mess, but after reading ehell I'm sure that there are careless people out there.

How about wet people who need/should use the bathroom inside? 

Do you have extra towels, in case people forget them or get them too wet to use?

Good tips, thanks! Yes, luckily the folks who owned the house before us and put on a nice big family room addition were smart enough to include a full bath with an outside entrance -- so guests can go straight in from the pool, even shower, and not worry about making a mess!

I usually keep a big stack of towels in there, as well as sunscreen, bug spray etc. Am trying to make it as guest-and-kid friendly as possible!  :)
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: UpdatedName on June 16, 2012, 09:52:57 PM
I'll admit, I'm surprised at the responses. Is it the new norm to hire professional lifeguards at a private pool party with less than 10 kids? Maybe it's because I grew up in Florida, where pools are a dime a dozen, but that sounds bizarre to me.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: EmmaJ. on June 17, 2012, 10:50:32 AM
I'm in Florida too.  This state has thousands of pools, rivers, ponds, and lakes.  And I can't tell you many times I've read a newspaper article about another tragedy (or near-tragedy) that occured because of a moment of inattention.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: NyaChan on June 17, 2012, 11:35:18 AM
I'll admit, I'm surprised at the responses. Is it the new norm to hire professional lifeguards at a private pool party with less than 10 kids? Maybe it's because I grew up in Florida, where pools are a dime a dozen, but that sounds bizarre to me.

I've never heard of this being done for small parties at home either, but I guess more safety is never a bad thing.  We usually just check with all the parents to make sure that their kid can swim/tread water and then make sure parents know that they can't leave their kids outside unsupervised.  Best to have parents in the pool with the kids too just in case and some floatation devices to grab onto. 
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on June 17, 2012, 04:41:03 PM
I'll admit, I'm surprised at the responses. Is it the new norm to hire professional lifeguards at a private pool party with less than 10 kids? Maybe it's because I grew up in Florida, where pools are a dime a dozen, but that sounds bizarre to me.

I've never heard of this being done for small parties at home either, but I guess more safety is never a bad thing.  We usually just check with all the parents to make sure that their kid can swim/tread water and then make sure parents know that they can't leave their kids outside unsupervised.  Best to have parents in the pool with the kids too just in case and some floatation devices to grab onto.

And not to put a damper on things, but should you hire a lifeguard, and something happens, my guess would be, you'd still be liable, even with a "real" lifeguard there.  So you might want to re-think like you said you and your DH were discussing.  It's probably easier to have families over to swim etc. on a one on one basis, rather than a large party, where there could be lots of little kids in and out of hte pool all day.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 18, 2012, 09:47:55 AM
OP here. We're both lawyers, so pretty familiar with the potential for liability.  :) I make it a habit to ensure that I (or another responsible adult) am in the pool any time one of my kids is swimming, and I generally make the same expectation clear to my friends.  That way no one adult gets stuck in the pool with 5 kids.....

I didn't mean for this thread to turn into Pool Safety 101 (although of course I appreciate the suggestions!), so I'm going to try to get it back on track....I'm sending out the invitations today! We're going to invite about 10 couples, and one family with kids the same ages as my sons. In truth, I think my kids (aged 2 and 4) get overwhelmed when ALL of their friends are around anyway.

Party will be from 12-4pm.  We'll probably start the grill around 12:30 or so.  Loose plan:have lunch, play in the pool, have dessert and wrap it up! So, the menu:

Hot dogs
Buns
Ketchup/mustard/relish
Chili & slaw (we are in NC after all)
Potato chips
Baked beans (I have a recipe for a really yummy baked bean casserole)
some kind of salad.... I make a good corn/black bean salad....might be too much on the beans?
watermelon

dessert:
ice cream
banana pudding?

drinks:
iced tea
lemonade
water
likely a selection of beer/wine

Advice? Any suggestions for a really yummy side salad? I'm trying to keep it rather light -- am not a big fan of mayo-based salads like potato salad, etc.  I have a killer recipe for banana pudding that I've been dying to make, but I feel like having that and ice cream is too much -- any thoughts on one or the other?

Thanks for everything!
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: lowspark on June 18, 2012, 10:39:57 AM
I'd skip the corn/black bean salad, in fact, I probably wouldn't do any kind of salad. You have slaw to fill that slot. Instead, I'd do a fresh fruit salad or really just have grapes, strawberries, watermelon, etc. (whatever's on sale that week)  available for munching. Or, if you really do feel the need for more fresh veggies, I'd just do cut up raw veggies with a ranch dip.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: sparksals on June 18, 2012, 10:55:28 AM
I don't know that I would ask people to bring sides.

I'm not sure why . . . maybe because it's your first party with these people? Maybe that's a bit weird. But that's just me. :-\

Of course, if anybody offers to bring something, there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking them up on their offer.

I don't think your menu needs to be extensive . . . plenty of hotdogs, chips/dips, beans, probably a potato salad and/or a coleslaw (make sure you have a way to chill these all afternoon) or a fresh-veggie tray  . . . add a sliced watermelon with the ice cream and you're good to go.



Great idea on hiring the babysitter for the pool area!

HOWEVER! Does she have any life guarding experience/training? Make sure the parents know that she is not solely responsible for their kids . . . Let the parents know that if their child is in the water, they need to be in attendance as well. (Water safety is extremely scary with little ones.*)

Make sure your babysitter is well supplied with fresh drinking water and that she gets a short break every hour or so.

Also, you might want to have a supply of sunscreen on hand.



*I, too, had to jump into a pool fully clothed while my DDs were being "watched" one-on-one by two teens. The one teen watching DD#2 (3yrs) swam away to grab a ball, leaving DD#2 sitting on the in-water steps. When I looked up DD#2 had her head under water and her arms out, several feet away from the steps. Yes. Probably the scariest moment in my life.

And, yes. I posted that to scare you. It only takes a moment.
I was going to post the same thing.  I dont think it is due diligence enough to hire a teen to watch the children in the pool.  Ultimately, you are responsible should anything happen.  Since you will be busy hosting you may want to hire an official safeguard.  Many people don't realize the TRUE signs of someone drowning....certainly not a teenager.   http://mariovittone.com/2010/05/154/  read this.  It is very eye opening about the myth of how a person looks drowning. 

While the pool is a fun thing to have, it is also a liability.  With so many people, you havevto ensure your butt is covered.  Before any pool parties, you really should consult a lawyer.  It is the reality of having a pool. 
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: sparksals on June 18, 2012, 11:04:08 AM
I'll admit, I'm surprised at the responses. Is it the new norm to hire professional lifeguards at a private pool party with less than 10 kids? Maybe it's because I grew up in Florida, where pools are a dime a dozen, but that sounds bizarre to me.

Considering the number of drownings at parties like this, it is all too common.   It Is a huge problem in AZ and im sure in FL too.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: POF on June 18, 2012, 12:01:04 PM
I make my potato sald with honey mustard vinagrette. ( potato. red onion, green beans, egg ane Newmans honey mustard light with just one small spoon of mayo )

Broccoli Salad is also a favorite.

Sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and vidalia onions with a ligth vinagrette is also popular.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: jpcher on June 18, 2012, 06:04:50 PM
some kind of salad.... I make a good corn/black bean salad....might be too much on the beans?

There's a lot of good recipes for different, yummy salads in this thread: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=117170.0

I like lowspark's suggestion. Go with a big bowl/tray of fresh fruit, in season, without cutting it up into a salad . . . bananas, grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe wedges, peaches, sliced kiwi, etc.

I also like the idea of a veggie tray.

This way people can nibble instead of having to have a fork and plate.



What is Chili and Slaw? Do you mix the two together?






workerbee -- I have to apologize because I was a big part of the thread derailment. Sorry! Your last post was nicely done and to the point . . . let's get back on topic.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 19, 2012, 08:16:12 AM
Fruit and veggie trays would be simple to pull together -- thanks for the suggestion! I don't know why I didn't think of that. Plus my kids are more likely to eat fruits and veggies separately -- they'll eat avocado all day long, but if I mix it into a green salad? They'll pick around and act as if they've never seen anything like it before!  ::)

Chili & slaw - *sigh* - my darling, ever-so-Southern husband introduced me to this culinary tradition. The chili is a basic ground beef-and-sauce, NO BEANS (according to him).  Around here you can buy it in cans or fresh at the local grocery. And slaw is regular old mayo-based coleslaw. People put it on hot dogs and burgers.....not mixed together, just as a topping (the way I would use lettuce and tomato).  I don't understand why people use meat as a condiment for.....meat, but there you go! I am forever planning cookouts and DH will suddenly remind me, "where's the chili and slaw??"
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Sophia on June 19, 2012, 09:07:07 AM
... I don't understand why people use meat as a condiment for.....meat, but there you go! ...

More meat!  Where is the downside?
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Hmmmmm on June 19, 2012, 09:27:12 AM
I think the menu is great with the additon of the fruit salad or tray.

And if you're having chili for the hot dogs, I'd aslo have some shredded cheese available. 

I'm from the south too, and didn't realize people actually ate hotdogs that weren't topped with chili and cheese until  was around 10 or so.  The first time I saw someone eating a hot dog with just mustard and ketchup actually made me a little sad.   :-[
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 19, 2012, 09:40:58 AM
Oh, I always forget the cheese too! Every time my husband's best friend comes over, I catch him rooting around in the fridge for cheese to add to his chili-topped hot dog.

I'm a simple ketchup & mustard girl.  Maybe slaw and mustard if I'm feeling frisky.  :P
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: Sophia on June 19, 2012, 01:08:30 PM
Don't know if you'd want this for your party.  But, for those that think hot dogs can be overwhelmed by the bread, tortillas make an excellent substitute.  Little harder to eat, particularly with chili.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on June 19, 2012, 04:20:50 PM
Since I don't like bananas I would opt for the ice cream so no the 2 desserts are not too much.

I make a fruit salsa that rocks. Served with cinnamon chips. People go crazy over it.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: artk2002 on June 20, 2012, 05:24:05 PM
Thanks all! These are great suggestions so far -- I like the idea of a lifeguard. It had occurred to me, with toddlers running around. The pool itself has a safety fence (in addition to the fenced backyard), but you can never be too careful! I'm usually pretty vigilant, but will likely be distracted with hosting duties, etc. I'm sure one of our regular babysitters would be interested in a little extra cash....

Unless your babysitter has experience in being a lifeguard, I'd go visit a local community pool and ask there. Or check to see if there's a Junior Lifeguard program with some graduates who would be old enough. You don't want to hear "It sounded like easy money -- I don't really swim that well." An untrained lifeguard can put themselves and the person they're trying to save in great danger.

(It wasn't a worry for us, because our pool was used by my Boy Scout troop for Lifesaving and Swimming merit badge training.)

Edit: D'oh. That's what I get for not reading the whole thread -- other people have explained the issues quite well ahead of me.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: mj on June 24, 2012, 04:18:38 PM
I'm glad to see you're providing the sides!  As I was reading through this thread, I kept thinking of our annual 4th of July experiences.  A certain family member generally claims the 4th as her party, so she has become known for it.  She asks every year for people to bring sides and every year it is difficult on guests.  We will have to ask her several times for a head count, explain to her what we are bringing in detail so she can have appropriate ice or heating for it.  Then there are the guests who don't come early, so sometimes there are only a few sides eaten up before an avanlance of more sides come when it gets cooler out.  Basically, you'd be dealing with some type of food prep all day considering it is an open house. 

I think it would be more work than just to prepare the food yourself and let people come and go.  Glad to see you made that decision!  Our family member complains every year how much work it is, yet hasn't changed her way of hosting to make it easier on her.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: workerbee on June 26, 2012, 09:41:32 AM
OP here. And this is why I keep coming back to ehell! I really appreciate all the planning help -- you guys opened my eyes to some potential planning pitfalls. At this point, I don't know why I thought asking people to bring sides was a good idea.  :)  I can totally imagine the party going like mj mentioned.....a headache for both guests and hostess.

Now I'm excited for the party!  Will be doing a "hot dog bar" with various fixings, chips, fruit (watermelon and grapes), and veggie tray (celery, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers) with hummus. Drinks bar with tea, lemonade, water, and beer/wine. Ice cream cones or popsicles and banana pudding for dessert (unless I get inspired by some other yummy dessert recipe).
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: EmmaJ. on June 26, 2012, 10:17:10 AM
It sounds wonderful!  :-)  Be sure and post afterwards and let us know how it went.
Title: Re: Advice for our July 4 party?
Post by: jpcher on June 26, 2012, 07:59:19 PM
OP here. And this is why I keep coming back to ehell! I really appreciate all the planning help -- you guys opened my eyes to some potential planning pitfalls. At this point, I don't know why I thought asking people to bring sides was a good idea.  :)  I can totally imagine the party going like mj mentioned.....a headache for both guests and hostess.

Now I'm excited for the party!  Will be doing a "hot dog bar" with various fixings, chips, fruit (watermelon and grapes), and veggie tray (celery, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers) with hummus. Drinks bar with tea, lemonade, water, and beer/wine. Ice cream cones or popsicles and banana pudding for dessert (unless I get inspired by some other yummy dessert recipe).

Both bolds above -- I've posted questions about parties that I was planning and it went from "Oh, no! What did I get myself into!" to "Now I'm excited!"

I completely agree. Fellow e-hellions are the greatest! ;D



Glad you're excited for your party! What you are planning on serving sounds perfect for an easy, relaxed, come-one-come-all type of day.


Enjoy! ;D