Archive for August, 2008

50th Wedding Anniversary Party

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Here’s a great idea for a 50th wedding anniversary party, make it a family reunion. Not just gathering for a few hours, make it a long weekend. When our parents had their 50th anniversary, we came up with many ideas on how to best celebrate this big event, it’s 50 years people. We considered many different ideas including renting a banquet hall, catering meals, entertainment, decorations; you know, the works. But what was really important to the special couple was not the food, the decorations or any of the normal party stuff; it was family. So what better than to have the grandparents, their kids and all the grand children together, relaxing and having a good time?


The location was chosen based upon two things; first was being within a reasonable distance for most people and second finding a venue large enough accommodate 45 family members, yes a large family and this was just the grandparents and immediate family. We happened to choose the Nebraska State Park at Ft. Robinson, a beautiful location with lots of history. Ft. Robinson has some lodging that was former officer’s quarters that date from 1874 to 1909 that sleep 20 people each. Everyone was accommodated with two of these beautiful old buildings and a few kids on the floor with sleeping bags.


The meals were provided by the family, no catering necessary. Each sibling’s immediate family members were responsible for one meal; the cooking, serving and clean up. The majority of food was serviced buffet style with the actual cooking done a couple days before. Crock pots are great appliances that make serving large numbers of guests very convenient.


If you don’t have a nice state park with lodging facilities, consider some resort condos or local hotels with a banquet room. Where ever the location, listen to the anniversary couple and what they would like to do. Usually the 50th wedding anniversary is more about family then anything else.

Wood Chips for Barbequing Flavor

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Take barbequing to the next level by adding different flavors with different woods. Most people, including myself, tend to grill food to save time, both in the actual cooking time and easier cleanup. However you might want to plan a little more time and treat your guests to something a little different. Why not? A party means good times and good food.


True barbequing will use wood smoke to help flavor the meat and vegetables. The smoky flavors will vary depending upon the wood and the type of grill. There are many different woods you can use; some examples are alder, apple, apricot, birch, cedar, cherry, grape, hickory, lemon, maple, mesquite, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pecan, plum and white oak. Most woods can be used, except for the treated lumber used in constriction.


Mesquite and hickory are common wood chips and along with oak, are very good general purpose wood chips for barbequing. Any of the hardwoods work well since they will burn slower and fruit woods provide excellent flavors.


Some woods seem to go with different meats better than others. Hickory is good with chicken, applewood for pork and mesquite adds a great flavor to beef and game. Vary the type of wood to change the flavor! Some woods like mesquite and pecan will provide a stronger flavor then most fruit woods. A wood chart, thanks to Sams Smoker, can help with knowing the different wood characteristics for barbequing. It is best to slow cook the meat since it usually takes at least 30 minutes to get a minimal smoky flavor.


Using only wood chips to grill is not recommended since they will burn unevenly and quickly. When using a charcoal grill, soak the wood chips in water and beer for 30 to 60 minutes, drain off liquid and then add wood chips directly to the hot charcoal. The soaking will make the chips smolder and keep them from burning too quickly. If using a gas grill, either use a partially filled metal tray next to the meat, wrap the chips in heavy duty foil with a few holes on top or some grills have a built-in smoker box for wood chips. You may need to heat the gas grill on high until there is plenty of smoke, then turn the grill down and keep the grill lid closed for the best results when cooking.


Should you always clean you grill after or before grilling meat? According to Barbeque Myths, it doesn’t really matter as long as it is cleaned prior to grilling. So try something different for your next backyard barbeque with some smoky flavors.

New Product Ideas - Fire Pits and Fountains?

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Trying to make a decision between a Fire Pit and a Fountain to add usability to your patio, here is both in a single unit.  Enjoy the atmosphere at any backyard gathering with this one!  This product is found at

  • Fire pit and 3-tiered bowl fountain
  • Fire-retardant, inorganic material exterior
  • Steel frame and stainless steel burner
  • Uses standard liquid propane gas tanks
  • Generates 30,000 BTUs for generous warmth
  • Lava rocks give flame a realistic look (included)
  • Lights illuminate the water for additional ambiance

The Lucia Firebowl Fountain integrates the essential elements of fire and water into its captivating design. The firebowl is situated on top of the pillar, providing light and warmth for your patio all year long. Three bowls, all of the same rustic orange color, form the descending tiers of the fountain below. The soothing water sounds and dancing flames will provide a spectacular contrast for you to enjoy with friends and family on your patio or beside your backyard pool.

DIY Balloon Effects

Monday, August 4th, 2008

One of the more interesting types of balloon decorations is the “exploding balloon”. Well they don’t really explode as you would normally think of an explosion but it does provide a great effect. An exploding balloon is a large balloon stuffed with many small balloons so that when the large balloon is pierced, the small balloons spray in every direction to make it look like an explosion. Typically you use a 36” clear balloon stuffed with 60 to 70 five inch balloons.

The difficulty is if you want to pierce the balloon from a distance or to have multiple balloons explode at once. You could have a person stand next to each balloon with a stick pin. Well maybe not! For a professional who decorates for large events many times a year, there is a “Balloon Exploder” kit that works well but this is expensive for some one wanting to decorate their own event.

So an alternative is to use the DIY Exploding Balloon. The idea is to be able to burst one or more large balloons at a specific time and from across the room. It is very surprising to the guests when the balloon explodes in the center of a wedding or anniversary reception.

For more information, go to DIY Exploding Balloon for assembly instructions.