• PREPPING YOUR PATIO FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY
  • This entry was posted in Patio on June 19, 2017

  • Your favorite summer holiday is approaching – happy Fourth of July! Fourth of July is a fantastic time to celebrate freedom, family, friends, and all of our fortunes, all while enjoying delicious homemade food in the backyard.

    Many people host backyard parties or barbeques on the Fourth of July. With dozens of close friends coming over and grilling wonderful food, you want your patio space to add to the festive ambiance. Below are a few tips for creating a one of a kind space for your Fourth of July party this year.

    - Do basic cleaning and maintenance. Have you cleaned your patio yet this summer? If not, take this opportunity to do a thorough cleaning of your patio space. Remove all of the furniture before you begin. Start by sweeping away all outdoor debris and leaves. Then hose the area down with a light detergent and water.

    - Invest in some festive decorations. Nothing says the Fourth of July like red, white and blue streamers, candles or lights. There are many options when it comes to purchasing Fourth of July decorations, but you can also make your own, from holiday placemats, to American flag candles, to bottle centerpieces.

    - Reexamine your layout. Think about the type of gathering you’re planning and whom you’re inviting. What kind of seating would be ideal? You might want to pull in extra chairs, rearrange your seats so they’re scattered into small lounge areas, or maybe even do away with most of your chairs, only leaving a few behind for people who might get tired standing. The options are endless, and you’ll be amazed at the effect seating can have on ambiance.

    - Set up your music. Think strategically about where you’re going to want to set up your speakers, etc. Weren’t planning on having music? Think again! Music is essential to large outdoor gatherings and can turn a casual get-together into a festive party people will be talking about for the rest of the summer.

    Decide on a dining style. How are you planning on serving your guests? Will there be a walk-up buffet style table or will snacks be scattered throughout the patio on small trays? Will you be serving guests individually? There is no right answer – just something to think about as you plan your outdoor gathering.

    Even though we want to help you be the perfect host this Fourth of July – don’t forget to kick back, relax and enjoy the holiday a little bit yourself as well. We hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with the love of your close friends and family. What a great way to start the summer season!




  • BEST MEMORIAL DAY PATIO PARTY
  • This entry was posted in Patio on May 24, 2017

  • Memorial Day is the official kick-off for summertime barbeques and outdoor parties. This weekend might even be the first time you’ve gotten to enjoy your patio all year. Celebrate the long weekend by having a patio get-together. Here are a few tips to throw on awesome Memorial Day party this weekend:

    Prep

    - Plan your guest list, make sure you have enough space and seating for everyone invited

    - Send out invites

    Clean off your patio. De-clutter, dust off tables and chairs, and clean the grill.

    - Plan your menu and make a shopping list

    - Check the weekend weather.

    Set-Up

    - Bring out folding chairs for more seating room.

    - Have an umbrella or canopy to create shaded areas.

    - Clearly label trash and recycle bins.

    - Have sunscreen available for guests.

    - Have a designated area for yard games.

    - Have a summertime playlist picked out for background music.

    Decorations

    - Red, white, and blue napkins, cups, and plates.

    - Use fresh flowers from your garden as centerpieces.

    - Illuminate your patio with hanging lights, paper lanterns, or tiki torches.

    - American flags, streamers, and balloons are all inexpensive ways to liven up your patio for the party.

    Food & Drinks

    - Keep the menu simple and classic – BBQ, hot dogs, and hamburgers are loved by all. Have vegetarian options on hand for anyone who might prefer

    - Have fruit, veggies, potato salad, coleslaw, chips and dip for sides and appetizers.

    - Stock the cooler and bar area with plenty of ice and an array of refreshing adult beverages as well as sodas, water bottles, and lemonade for kids.

    - If possible keep food inside, or under an umbrella to keep out bugs and to keep fresh.

    - Buffet style set-up works best. Have napkins, straws, drinks and condiments at a separate table.

    Relax and enjoy the company of friends and family this Memorial Day weekend with a laid-back patio party! 




  • FUN OUTDOOR GAMES FOR YOUR BBQ
  • This entry was posted in Table tennis on May 01, 2017

  • Barbeque season is here at last! Nothing beats enjoying warm weather with friends and feasting on a scrumptious plate of freshly cooked and perfectly seasoned food. For a surefire way to make new friends in the neighborhood, why not throw an outdoor barbecue?

    After catching up over beers and food, someone often calls for a fun after-dinner activity or game. While you don’t have to plan a detailed schedule, it’s ideal to have a few group activities in mind to keep the party going. Here are some of our favorite games that both kids and adults will want to play.

    Table tennis. Table tennis is loads of fun for all ages. (Plus, arm strength, teamwork, and coordination are just a few of its many health benefits.) Our outdoor table tennis tables invoke just what every BBQ needs – fun, laughter, and a spark of friendly competition!

    Outdoor chess. This will set your party above the rest. Life size outdoor chess pieces made of resin are sturdy but easy to lift. Get swept away with the strategy and smarts involved in this classic game.

    Cornhole. Easy to play with minimal setup required, cornhole is a blast without being too intense or competitive.

    Card games. Sure, you can play these games inside too, but they’re more fun at a BBQ with yummy cool beverages and plenty of sunshine. Here are a few of the most fun card games around.

    Hide and seek. If the adults need a break (for drinks, or just to rest their feet), this is a great one for the kids to play by themselves. Just make sure to set limits for how far they can go and check every few minutes to make sure everyone is getting along.

    Capture the Flag. Divide into teams for this adventurous game suitable for all ages. Capture the Flag is an excellent choice for breaking the ice amongst neighbors who might not know each other well.

    No matter what games you decide on, remember a few basic rules to ensure everyone has a good time: 1) If you choose an active game, make sure you have cards or something more casual and relaxing set aside as a backup for people who don’t want to play, and 2) Keep it friendly! Remember a game is just a game, and it’s more about having fun, bonding, and enjoying the warm weather than it is about snagging a victory.

    Barbeque season is here at last! Nothing beats enjoying warm weather with friends and feasting on a scrumptious plate of freshly cooked and perfectly seasoned food. For a surefire way to make new friends in the neighborhood, why not throw an outdoor barbecue?

    After catching up over beers and food, someone often calls for a fun after-dinner activity or game. While you don’t have to plan a detailed schedule, it’s ideal to have a few group activities in mind to keep the party going. Here are some of our favorite games that both kids and adults will want to play.

    Table tennis. Table tennis is loads of fun for all ages. (Plus, arm strength, teamwork, and coordination are just a few of its many health benefits.) Our outdoor table tennis tables invoke just what every BBQ needs – fun, laughter, and a spark of friendly competition!

    Outdoor chess. This will set your party above the rest. Life size outdoor chess pieces made of resin are sturdy but easy to lift. Get swept away with the strategy and smarts involved in this classic game.

    Cornhole. Easy to play with minimal setup required, cornhole is a blast without being too intense or competitive.

    Card games. Sure, you can play these games inside too, but they’re more fun at a BBQ with yummy cool beverages and plenty of sunshine. Here are a few of the most fun card games around.

    Hide and seek. If the adults need a break (for drinks, or just to rest their feet), this is a great one for the kids to play by themselves. Just make sure to set limits for how far they can go and check every few minutes to make sure everyone is getting along.

    Capture the Flag. Divide into teams for this adventurous game suitable for all ages. Capture the Flag is an excellent choice for breaking the ice amongst neighbors who might not know each other well.

    No matter what games you decide on, remember a few basic rules to ensure everyone has a good time: 1) If you choose an active game, make sure you have cards or something more casual and relaxing set aside as a backup for people who don’t want to play, and 2) Keep it friendly! Remember a game is just a game, and it’s more about having fun, bonding, and enjoying the warm weather than it is about snagging a victory.




  • 4 SPRING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY
  • This entry was posted in Table tennis on March 28, 2017

  • With beautiful springtime weather comes the chance to spend quality time together with the family. It's an opportunity for kids to learn new things and for parents to get to know their children better. It's also a good time for siblings to bond. Outdoor activities offer exercise, fresh air and fun. Depending on the ages of your kids, you can take them to the park, a nearby lake or just hang out in the neighborhood. Plan a time when everyone is available to go for a bike ride, a hike or to just try something new. A weekly outing can help you all build better friendships with each other while taking out some time for fun, fitness and leisure. 

     Biking

    Going for a bike ride is a great way to get started on spring outdoor activities for the family. Adults and kids can ride their bikes together. Children over the age of three can ride on their own bikes or trikes. Little ones can ride in child carriers on the back of Mom or Dad's bike. If your children don't know how to ride yet, this could be the perfect time to teach them how. Look for local trails and bike paths. If you have a bike rack and an SUV, you can go for a drive to the nearest state park, pack a picnic lunch and bring your bikes. For a smaller adventure, take a ride to the library, the store or the park.

     Hiking

    Going for a nature hike is another way to enjoy the spring weather and each other. Visit a park or explore the neighborhood. The important thing is to engage in conversation and perhaps sneak in some learning. Bring a pair of binoculars and talk about different types of leaves, flowers, birds and other creatures you see on your outing.

     Kayaking

    Kick it up a notch with a wet and wild adventure. Learning how to kayak is a skill that kids and parents can use throughout their lives. It focuses on balance, coordination and a love of adventure. Pack the life vests and make sure that your children can swim before taking them kayaking.

     Table Tennis

    If you want to stay close to home, table tennis is a great way to spend some family time. An outdoor table tennis table on the patio is accessible and a great source of exercise. Older children can also grab their table tennis paddles and play together without supervision. 

     




  • FUN CHILDREN ACTIVITIES FOR ST. PATRICKS DAY
  • This entry was posted in on March 13, 2017

  • St. Patrick’s Day is coming.  Whether you’re of Irish descent or not there are generally a lot of fun events for adults and even for kids to join.  So, how can you make this festive holiday a wee bit of fun for you and your family?

    Get Crafty

    There are plenty of crafts to help get your children excited for St. Patrick’s Day, and ways to include them in decorating your home for any festivities.  

    - St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow in a Jar:  You have to make your way through the rainbow of Skittles to find the Leprechaun’s gold!  This can help your child learn about the colors of the rainbow, and they can sneak a few Skittles while making this special treat.

    - Stained Glass Rainbow: All you need is some tissue paper, wax paper and glue.  Tear up colored tissue paper (colors of the rainbow), tear off a sheet of wax paper.  Spread glue on the wax paper in the shape of the rainbow and then place tissue paper on the glue. Use a second piece of wax paper covered with glue and place over the top of the rainbow and your stained glass rainbow is complete.

    Get Active

    It depends on where you live, but there are often times a lot of fun activities for families on or near St. Patrick’s Day.  There are parades that showcase Irish Step Dancing, local Irish groups play music, and lots of great Irish food.   Some of the most famous and fun activities include:

    - Dyeing the Chicago River Green: If you live in Chicago, then head on to the Chicago River to see 45 pounds of vegetable dye get poured into the river to turn it a festive green color for the day. 

    - Leprechaun Hunts: Cities like Philadelphia and Chicago host Leprechaun hunts for children, in which children and parents participate together in a scavenger hunt to find Leprechauns and win prizes!

    - Leprechaun Dash: This is a special race as part of the Shamrock Marathon series, in which children ages 6 months to 5 years old can participate in their own race.  A 26.2 yard run, as these dashers reach the finish line, they are celebrated with a finishers medal, cheers from the crowd and more.  It’s a great way for young runners to get excited about St. Patrick’s Day, or to participate with their parents.

    Get Cooking

    We’re going to stick to a few sweet treats for St. Patrick’s Day, however, there are most definitely plenty of savory recipes that you can introduce your children to.  Corned Beef and cabbage, Irish Soda Bread are two of the better known Irish dishes for St. Patrick’s Day.  But, let’s have some fun with these tasty treats:

    - St. Patrick’s Day Crispy Treats: Your typical Rice Crispy Treats get a twist, add a little bit of green food dye to the melted marshmallows and turn these into special green treats.  (Get extra creative, and use a Shamrock cookie cutter to make them in the shape of Shamrocks).

    - Green Candied Popcorn:  Add a little bit of butter, sugar, corn syrup, green food coloring and more to spice up a normal bowl of popcorn.  Surprise your kids with their very own green popcorn, and view the full recipe here.

    May the luck of the Irish be on your side this St. Patrick’s Day and we hope that you’re able to enjoy a fun-filled green weekend with your family.