Tips to make your backyard party a summer highlight.

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School’s out and the weather is hot. In Seattle that means it’s time to seize the day. Don’t drag your feet because your lawn needs to be mowed or your yard weeded. Don’t just stand there and stare longingly at your grill – pick a night, invite some friends and worry about the rest later.

Oh, later is now? Here are a few tips to make your backyard party a summer highlight.

First, prep your space. Yes, that means the lawn mowing and the sweeping and all of that drudgery. Once you’ve got the space cleaned up, take a look at your tables and chairs. Do they need to be freshened up with some new cushions or pillows? Would an umbrella provide shade from the evening sun? Maybe an outdoor rug would spruce up the place. You don’t need to spend a ton of time or money; check out Bartell Drugs summer catalog for some great options.

Then think about what you’ll put on the table and how you’ll feed people. Lightweight melamine dishes are a great alternative to paper plates. They’re inexpensive, dishwasher safe and not easily breakable.

What will you put on those pretty plates? In Seattle, summer is growing season. Plan to hit up a farmer’s market a day or two before the party and pick up some fruits and vegetables. This time of year, they’re so flavorful they don’t require much preparation. However, if you want to get fancy you can buy one of these creative food cutters that turns carrots into flowers, ribbons orange peels for fancy drinks, and makes cucumbers curly.

Another way to get fancy is to make popsicles. If you want to get really crazy you can make grownup, boozy popsicles – mint julep, peach bourbon lemonade, tequila sunrise. Right?! Just take some of that fresh fruit, blend it up with some juice or water and maybe a little splash of somethin’, pour into a popsicle mold and freeze. It might be a good idea to set a popsicle limit on yourself.

And this leads us to drinks. Is a boozy popsicle considered a drink or a food? Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have plenty of beverages on hand. You can keep them cold by putting them in a kiddie pool filled with ice, or use two smaller tubs and mark one for pop and other for beer and wine.

With most the details in place, it’s time to think about ambience. At night, it’s all about the lights. Consider stringing bistro lights from the roof of the house to a fence or tree. Don’t have a tree? Find a post and stake it into the ground. You can also wrap smaller white lights around tree trunks for a festive vibe. Load up on lanterns for the food and beverage tables.

Lastly, we’re going to need to make sure fun is had. Will any kids be there? If so, here’s a secret about kids – they love water. Pick up a fun sprinkler. Or get another kiddie pool and set up a giant bubble station.

Finally, sometimes it’s the details that make the party so you’re going to need these last two things. First, it’s a multi-tool, yes, but it’s shaped like a crab. Will you use the scissors to open a package of crackers? Will you use the bottle opener? It doesn’t matter what you use it for because it’s adorable. Also, this dachshund hotdog slicer is a must-have. It slices the hotdog into perfect pieces for little (or big) mouths and then IT HAS A LITTLE BOWL TO FOR THE CATSUP.

There we go, all you need to know to make sure your summer party is at the top of its game. So, get out there and have some, but not too much, fun (no more popsicles for you!).

Summertime is the best time in the PNW! When the sky is blue and there’s a warm summer breeze there’s no place better! Your locally owned Bartell Drugs Summer Catalog has what you need for all your summer adventures.