Memorial Day BBQ Side Dish Ideas

You may consider Memorial Day the official marker of summertime. It is a time that we honor and remember those who served our country, and you may have decided to host a barbecue and invite a few veterans over to your home. If you are nervous about finding the perfect side dishes to match your BBQ, fear not because here are seven BBQ side dish ideas that you can use for your Memorial Day party:

Roasted Sweet Potato

Looking for something sweet to complement your protein choice? Roasting sweet potatoes is an extremely easy and tasty idea for homeowners. Plus, it is really simple! Just chop them up and drizzle them with olive oil before placing them in the oven!

CrockPot Mac N’ Cheese

Mac n’ cheese is a classic when it comes to barbecues. The best part is you can easily make it in the crockpot for a portable, fast recipe.

Fresh Fruit Salad

Nothing says fresh on a warm day like fruit salad. Plus, fruit salad is an easy, last minute idea that you can throw together. Try adding in your favorite summer fruits for customization.

Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple

Looking for a dessert that will not show on the scale the next day? Brown sugar pineapples are easy and delicious options for your Labor Day barbecue. Bonus: there are only three ingredients (pineapples, brown sugar, and canola oil)!

Jalapeño Cornbread

If you love spice, you will love this savory side dish! You can add jalapeños into a box mix of cornbread or make them from scratch. Either way, the plate will be cleared off with this delicious side dish.

Baked Garlic Parmesan Fries

Everyone loves a flavorful french fry and adding a garlic parmesan seasoning turns your fries into the talk of the party. All you need is garlic, parsley, salt, olive oil, parmesan, and fresh potatoes to make this snack come true.

Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad

Running short on time? You can quickly throw together this 5-ingredient salad in no time! All you need is fresh, seedless watermelon, mint, olive oil, feta cheese, and salt for a new BBQ favorite.

We hope you enjoy your Memorial Day party and that your side dishes are a hit!

Tips and Tricks for Being the Hostess with the “Mostess”

Hosting guest is always a fun way to unwind from the busy week. There is something satisfying about giving your friends and family an extra special visit at the place you call home, and as any party planner knows, you need to be prepared to be a successful host. If this is your first-time having guests over, it is important to know your limits. Do not invite more than you or your house can handle at first. Your goal is to make your guest feel at home and never have to ask for anything. With great hosting skills and etiquette, your company will feel welcomed and invited into your atmosphere; however, you still should have plans for entertainment. Here are the top ways to entertain your guests and become the hostess with the “mostess”:

Food and Drink

Everybody loves food; therefore, having a dinner party can be a great idea for first-time hostesses. You have time to socialize before and after eating. You can also prepare drinks to keep the entertainment going throughout the night. Just make sure that all your guests are accounted for and served throughout the evening. You may also want to have different options available. Food allergies and intolerances are becoming more common, so check with your guests beforehand to make sure your food options will suffice.

Movie

Movies are great as well for entertaining guests. They can help keep everyone entertained for a couple of hours. Try to find a genre of movie everyone agrees will work. This comes down to knowing your guest beforehand. You may not want to do a movie if you have a very diverse crowd with different movie preferences. That being said, comedies are always crowd-pleasers. It can be beneficial to watch the movie beforehand to make sure it will be a hit.

Board Games

Board games are very interactive; they allow people to socialize while adding some fun competition. Have several board games available so you can find one that everyone will enjoy. Team board games are great ways to let individuals not feel out of the loop. Try to introduce everyone at the beginning of the night to make sure no one feels excluded or awkward.

Remember not to force anything. If you notice a guest feels hesitant or uncomfortable participating in activities you have planned, you should be adaptable. It is good to have several suggestions and work with the group. You are the host so your suggestions will be very important. You may even want to inform your guest of activities prior to the invite — this way your company knows what to expect.

If your company consists of different age groups, consider tailoring different activities for them. You may want to check-in on all groups throughout the night, and consider making kids games or other areas of entertainment for all ages.

For more entertainment ideas, makes sure to subscribe. Thanks for reading!

How to Design a Coffee Bar in Your Home

Coffee is our fuel which keeps us going through the day. If you are a coffee lover, you know how important coffee is to your sanity, and since your home is your sanctuary, maybe you should dedicate some space to this necessity in your life. Coffee bars are great to add to your home and do not require a ton of investment to begin creating. You can have your coffee bar in your kitchen, office, or even your bedroom. If you are looking to create your own coffee bar, here is everything you should consider adding to it:

The Essentials

To create your coffee bar, you will need to have a few coffee essentials present. Decide how you plan on brewing your coffee. You can add a Keurig, a coffee maker, an espresso machine, a pour over maker, or a french press. You can even invest in a hot plate and brew your coffee wherever you decide to set up the coffee bar. Just make sure to get some coffee mugs or to-go thermals as well. Add anything to your coffee stand that would typically be added to your coffee. You may want to include creamer, sugar, sugar alternatives, honey, and milk. For items that need chilled, you may need to invest in a mini fridge for the area. Consider having clean-up items readily available under your coffee station like paper towels or rags in case any accidents may occur.

Brewed Your Way

Not an avid coffee drinker? That is okay. A bar is still a great option to add to rooms for aesthetics and entertainment. You may want to create an alcohol bar with some of your favorite drinks readily available. You can have a reach-in fridge with chilled beverages or even install a kegerator for instant brews. You can also create a dessert or and an “hors d’oeuvre” bar. Find the perfect remedy for your home or tailor your bar to your guest or events.

Appearance is Everything

Your coffee station does not need to be solely for functionality. Consider decorating it to make it a fun focal point in a room. You can make a DIY chalkboard, install floating shelves, display your mugs, and even add some plants for added character. You can even create a shabby chic look with a distressed, whitewashed coffee stand or a more modern look with floating shelves and a metal end table. The possibilities are endless.

A coffee bar can be aesthetically pleasing and a great addition to your home. You can put it in your dining or living room or even in some place further away from the kitchen in your home. A coffee bar can make your coffee making experience even more enjoyable. For more tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe.

Tips and Tricks for Entertaining on The Patio

We love springtime in Arizona because of the long days filled with the warm sun and best of all, cookouts with your family and friends. In fact, springtime is the perfect season for gathering outside and cooking food on the grill since summers can get really, really hot. If you plan on hosting guests at your home, you will want to make sure that your patio is entertainment-ready.

If entertaining in style is important to you, it is essential to take the time to design and accessorize your outdoor space. Here are some of our favorite must-haves for your patio:

#GrillGoals

The most important item you will need for the perfect outdoor space is a grill! Whether you prefer a charcoal or gas grill, here are some things you want to take into consideration before you purchase a grill:

  • The size of the grill should be proportionate to the space that you have.
  • Determine whether you desire a standard or advanced grill with all the bells and whistles.
  • Decide who will be using it most in your family and what their preferences are when it comes to cooking.
  • Make sure you buy a grill that can serve your entire party-size in a good amount of time.

A Place for All

The most significant thing for entertaining outdoors is a comfortable dining set. The perfect dining set will allow your guests to enjoy their meals while taking in the natural beauty that surrounds them. Will you mostly be hosting larger events or intimate gatherings? If so, then you should opt for a dining set that sits four to six people. However, if you will be hosting larger gatherings, you may want to purchase something that can accommodate more people. Perhaps, extra seating outdoors that can be pulled up at a larger table.

Coziness is Key

Go the extra mile to make your guests feel comfortable by adding cushions to the seat. In fact, cushioned seating will encourage your guests to linger around the dining table longer. If you plan on hosting larger guests, you should even consider adding extra seating and tables around the yard to encourage guests to stay longer.

Bugs, Bugs, Go Away

Keep bug repellant nearby or an essential oil burning to help keep the bugs away from your party. It is hard for people to enjoy their meal when bugs are flying all around them.

Light up The Night

Sufficient outdoor lighting is essential, especially since it can get dark outside, fast. You want your guests to be able to see and interact at night. Be sure to test out the lighting scheme prior to the event to ensure everything is working properly. You can even include string lights above your patio for extra style.

What are your personal tips and tricks for entertaining on the patio? We would love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section.

Tips and Tricks for Creating a Guest Bedroom Getaway

It is always rewarding to host guests. Creating an atmosphere which is inviting and welcoming is key to being a good host. If you plan on allowing your guest to stay overnight, you will need to prepare a guest room. Plus, having the perfect guest room does not need to cost you an arm and a leg. You should, however, treat your guest how you would want to be treated. There are several elements which can make your company’s stay a better experience. Here are our top guest room essentials to ensure your visitors have an impeccable stay:

A Place to Rest Their Head

A comfy bed can make or break your company’s stay. Make sure your guests are provided with clean sheets and extra pillows/blankets. You do not want them to be too warm or too cold; therefore, provide them with a complete set of sheets and additional items to make their stay welcoming. They can feel awkward asking for more items, so make sure you provide above and beyond what they are expecting.

A Place to Unpack

Depending on your company’s stay, they may have clothes they need to be unpacked. Providing an adequate amount of storage whether in a dresser or closet space is a must. You may also want to give a hook on the back of the door for them to hang their jackets, purses, or hats. Do not be shy about giving them enough hangers because again, you want to provide extra and beyond their needs.

A Place to Recharge

Do not forget to provide the room with basic amenities. Remember to have a clock and provide enough outlets for your guest to be able to charge their electronics. You may even want to provide some phone chargers in the room as well. You can also make the room more enjoyable by adding a television, radio, and even Bluetooth speaker. Your guests will love the extra thought you put into the space and enjoy their getaway a little more.

Being a good host is satisfying, and creating the perfect guest room is a fun challenge. Do not overcrowd the room with décor, but remember that less is more. We hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks. For more expert ideas, visit us at Fulton Homes.

How to Create a Stylish DIY Tabletop Fire Pit

There is nothing more romantic than relaxing by the fire on a breezy Arizona night. Just the idea of socializing by a warm fire sounds peaceful and alluring to all busy homeowners. The outdoors is the perfect setting for get-togethers and deep conversations. Make a statement at your next social gathering with a Do-It-Yourself Tabletop Fire Pit. You will find that tabletop fire pits are stunning! They bring warmth and beauty to your outdoor space, plus they are easy to create!

Supplies:

  • Ceramic Planter/Pot
  • Lava Rocks
  • Gel Fuel Cans (This can be bought at any home improvement store or online retailers).
  • Lighter or Matches

How to make a Tabletop Fire Pit:

Preparation: Gather all the supplies from the list above and find a place outside to work on this project.

Step One: Once you have found a spot to work, place your lava rocks inside your ceramic planter. The ceramic planter you choose is completely based on your personal style. Since you will be filling the planter, look to purchase a larger ceramic pot for this project. The lava rocks should fill 3/4 of your ceramic planter.

Step Two: Now place your closed gel fuel cans onto of the lava rocks you just put in your planter.

Step Three: After you have positioned the gel fuel cans, you can continue to fill your planter to the top with your lava rocks. Make sure to place them surrounding your fuel cans and not on top of them.

Step Four: Leave the lids on until you want to lit your fire pit. Keep in mind the fire will only last approximately one and a half to two hours; therefore, wait to burn your fuel cans until your guests arrive.

Pro-Tip: Gel Fuel Cans are great for outdoor fires because the wind will help produce a greater flame. 

This tabletop fire pit is perfect for outdoor gatherings! Amaze your guests with this stunning, hand-crafted fire pit. The best part is that you made it all on your own. Just please make sure that the flame is entirely out before going back inside for the night.

Tips for Preparing for a Casual Dinner Party

Are you planning a small, casual dinner party at your home? If so, we believe that having your close friends over for a homecooked meal and great conversation is the perfect idea of a good time. While some people find inviting guests over to be nerve-wracking, we believe with the right tips and tricks you can become host/hostess of the year. Let’s take a look!

Preparing Your Home 

Of course, the first thing you will want to do is prepare your home for guests.  You can easily impress visitors by having a home that is sparkling clean. While you do not have to launch a full out spring cleaning project, you should make sure the main areas are free of clutter and smudges. Here are some tips for effectively cleaning for your dinner party:

  •  Make sure the windows are clean and bright to allow natural light to flood your space
  • Tidy up the entryway for guests to store their shoes and coats
  • Deep clean the guest bathroom and stock up on extra toiletries for guests to access
  • You will also want to clean the kitchen area because let’s be honest; no one wants to eat food prepared in a dirty kitchen 
  • Lastly, you should tackle any areas that the guests may hang out or see (i.e., the living room, home office, dining room, etc.)

Food Preparation

First, you should inquire about food allergies ahead of time. Before you decide on what you are going to cook, it is in good taste to ask your guests if there are any allergies you should know. There is nothing worse than getting ready to serve your infamous pecan pie and find out that a guest has a severe nut allergy. Remember that the menu should include a variety of foods that everyone can enjoy. 

Secondly, cook dishes that you have successfully made at least twice. Preparing meals that you have yet to “master” may not go over too well with your guests. If you are set on wowing your friends with a new recipe, try making the dish at least a few weeks beforehand.

Lastly, keep it simple. When throwing a casual dinner party, you should cook smart by avoiding cooking foods that require constant stirring and flipping. Try a simple buffet style meal or a one-pot meal accompanied with a couple of simple side dishes for an easy but delicious meal.

What are your best dinner party tips? We would love for you to share your thoughts with other readers in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

Super Bowl Sunday Party Dip Ideas

You have invited all your friends and bought decorations for the house, but there is still one thing you are struggling with–what food are you going to serve? The food for the evening can be one of the most time-consuming tasks of throwing a party. We want to help you not spend as much time in the kitchen during this party. Our solution is for you to serve dips. Dips can be served with a variety of food options and can be quite filling. Switch up your party’s food routine and choose to serve a varied selection of dips.

French Onion Dip

This dip is a classic, to say the least. French onion dip has earned a place in many hearts from its bold and flavor-filled taste. This dip can be paired with toasted cheesy bread or crackers.

Pizza Dip

There is nothing more traditional than a good, old fashion pizza dip. Party-goers will love this flavorful dip, and you can pair it with bread slices or pita bread.

Queso Dip

Can you say YUM? If you are a cheese fan, you will be running to this dip time and time again to delight in its creamy deliciousness. Traditionally, tortilla chips pair well with this dip but try adding some soft pretzel bits around the dish.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This has become a recent trend at many house parties, and we completely understand why. It has a creamy base with a pleasant, spicy kick to it. This tasty dip pairs well with bread, crackers, tortilla chips, celery, etc.

Guacamole

Nos Gusta!! Include this dip for your party-goers to indulge in its creamy goodness. It pairs well with lime-flavored tortilla chips!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Let us pretend this one is as healthy as it sounds. This creamy dip will indulge your taste buds and leave guests chatting. Pair this dip with toasted bread or tortilla chips.

Hummus

This dip adds a variety to your selection because it is perfect for your vegetarian and vegan friends. We also want to make sure that there is an option available to everyone and having a hummus dip will definitely help to assure you. Buy an original flavor hummus and separate it into different bowls. In each bowl, add a different topping to add variety and flavor. You can create flavors like a roasted red pepper or garlic-herb hummus. Pair this dip with pita and a selection of raw vegetables (celery, carrots, broccoli, etc.).

Is there a dip you love to make for parties? Share your favorite dip with us in the comment section.

How to Step Your Entertainment Game

From family dinners to gathering your friends for a Friday game night, do you often find yourself hosting everything at your house? If so, you know that hosting in your home can sometimes be quite stressful. Like most hosts, you take gatherings at your place serious which is why we are going to show you how to create an atmosphere that is always ready for guests:

Entertaining Outdoors

Do you love entertaining outdoors during the summer months? Well, when you bring the party outdoors, you will need to make sure the backyard is equipped with cozy accessories. Be sure to load up your back patio with items that make your guests want to relax, stay a while even. You can add plush pillows on hard chairs and soft throw blankets to keep your guests warm. You can also light candles on the table tops to set the perfect cozy atmosphere as the sun sets.

In The Kitchen

As the heart of the home, the kitchen is where your guests will feel most at home. If you are planning on having a dinner party, avoid making the prep area off limits. Set out the drinks and platters of food inside your kitchen for your guests to freely enter. Allow them to serve themselves appetizers before the meal starts. By doing so, you do not exclude yourself from the party, but you can interact with guests while you make dinner.

The “Good” China

Think about it, when exactly do you pull out the “good stuff?” It does not have to be a holiday or a black tie event for you to pull out your prized dishware. An intimate gathering is a perfect time to serve your guests with your good china. What better way to make your guests feel special, and get to use your dishware?

Overnight Guests

If you plan on having overnight guests, you should create the ultimate cozy sleepover. It can be done by making sure the guest room and bathroom are well stocked with extra towels, sheets, toiletries, and other supplies.  Keeping the guest quarters well stocked with basic essentials will make them feel comfortable during their stay.

Ample Seating

The one thing that can make or break your an event is not having enough seating. While your guests will likely want to mingle with each other, at some point, they will want to take a seat. Make sure you have seating for at least half of the guests that will be attending your home gathering.

What is your favorite way to entertain? We would love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section.