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Linds and Ally here! We want to share our cooking experiences with you to help you start having a more fabulous experience in the kitchen. It is our mission to bring you simple yet deliciously healthy recipes that you can make in a flash! Thanks for visiting!
XOXO, CutieTwins

Jun 10, 2010

'Tis the Season for Open Housing: How to Throw an Effortless Graduation Party

As alot of our loved ones are graduating at this time, there are a lot of parties to attend. If you're anything like my family, you get a ton of invites to these things and end up open house "hopping" every weekend from May through June!

So what happens when it comes time to throw your graduate an open house? Do you try to "one up" all the others, or try to plan so that you can enjouy your time with family and friends, unlike "Ms. Party Perfect"? We vote for the second option! Let's face it; we couldn't one up her anyways.

That doesn't mean that you can't have a chic party yourself, even on a budget. We are here to give you the 411 on how to throw an efforetlessly chic graduation open house! The key is to keep it light and refreshing, since most people bounce from open house to open house.

First, decide where you want to place the food buffet, as it is the focal point of the party. If you want it inside, the dining room or kitchen will work best. If you want the food outside, anywhere on a deck will work, although a screened-in porch keeps bugs away from food.

Food, although the focal point, should not be your biggest worry. Most people bounce from open house to open house and eat a little at each. So keep it simple. Pick something that will be effortless to keep fesh and at the right temperature. Here are some ideas:

- A taco or burrito bar, where people can create their own
- Pulled pork is a very easy food to either cater in or make yourself and keep warm in a crock pot
- Ham and turkey sandwiches, either catered in or homemade

For effortless side dishes, try a mix of any of these options:

- Fruit platter
- Veggie platter
- Cheese and cracker platter
-Potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad and/or fruit salad

All of these can easily be homemade or bought pre-made at your local grocery store!

For easy desert options, if you so wish to serve desert, stick with summer staples like popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, or single serve ice cream cups. Place in coolers or bowls of ice to keep frozen.

And of course, use paper plates and plastic utensils to make clean up easy for guests. Place a couple of trash cans throughout the party in inconspicuous places.

Drinks should be the most effortless part. All you need are a few tubs or coolers filled with ice. Serve mini bottled waters and any assortment of mini sodas that you would like. Place tubs or coolers throughout the party, maybe one by the food and one outside, so guests can easily find refreshments!

If you want to serve adult beverages, do the same thing with wine and/or beer, placed in smaller tubs or buckets. I would advise only serving adualt beverages in one location so that you do not have to serve or buy as much.

Decorations should be minimal and easy to put up and take down. There is no reason to spend a fortune; you can probably find all you need at your local dollar store. Just be sure to use your grad's school colors.

For the most effortless decorating, stick with a "Congratulations Graduate" banner and some streamers and balloons placed around the party. For an added touch use colored table clothes and table skirts. You can also use colored paper plates and plastic utensils. Hanging flower baskets are also an easy added touch for outdoors, and they will last all summer with little maitenance.

One of the most important decorations to have are pictures of your grad! You can place them throughout the party on serving tables, or as center pieces or you can dedicate a single table or location for pictures and posters. Lay out your graduate's senior pictures so that people can take them as a memento. You can also make a banner that family and friends can sign that acts as a "guest book"!

Something fun my mom has done for each of the grads in my family is make a memory book of our entire lives. It is a great conversation piece to lay out in the living room as a coffee table book, or what have you. It is always a big hit and a great present that I have added on to as the years go by!

Lastly, and most importantly, ask one or two of your close friends or neighbors to come and help you do most of the restocking of drinks and food throughout the party. This will allow you to be stress free and enjoy visiting with family and friends.

Have fun planning and Happy Open Houseing!!

XOXO, CutieTwins

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