Tag Archives: easy entertaining

How to Prepare Your Backyard for Summer Entertaining

How to Prepare Your Backyard for Summer Entertaining

Each year, spring comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Blooming trees are overtaken by lush green foliage and temperatures steadily climb as we cruise into summer at full speed. Summer brings sunshine, friends, and super fun outdoor gatherings. If you’re hoping your backyard becomes your neighborhood’s hot spot for barbeques, dinner parties, and July 4th celebrations, prepare your space with these pro tips.

Light Summer Pajamas

It’s heating up! We adore this summery ‘Made in America’ Flamingo pajama set from The Cat’s Pajamas.

7 Tips to Get Your Backyard Ready for Summer

1. Spring cleaning made easy.

A simple way to add some sparkle to your outdoor space is to give the patio and furniture a good scrub-down. Shave time off this process and rent a pressure washer from your local home improvement store. A pressure washer will blast away years of dirt and grime from any surface. Your patio furniture, windows, siding, fencing, deck, and any masonry will sparkle like the day they were installed — and you won’t even break a sweat! You won’t even have to get out of your pajamas.

2. Create a chef’s paradise.

The first step in entertaining is wanting to entertain. Create an inviting space where you and your family can cook, mix drinks, and socialize. First, give your grill a good deep clean to keep it running safely in tip-top shape. Consider investing in a patio-friendly kitchen island, so you can spread out your ingredients and comfortably have everything at your fingertips. Place the cooler or ice bucket next to the island so it can double as “the bar.” Guests will stop by for a drink and chat while you’re manning the grill. If there’s a garden bed nearby, it might the perfect spot for herbs. An herb garden will provide you with fresh ingredients for your favorite dishes and refreshments all summer long!

Lazy One Flapjack Kids Pajamas

Safety first! When treating your lawn, opt for eco-friendly pest and weed control so your little ones can safely enjoy the great outdoors!

3. Give the lawn a facelift.

A week or two before you plan to host your first backyard soiree, trim the grass, seed and fertilize bald spots, and spray for weeds. If you’re concerned about harmful chemicals, there are a host of “green” alternatives on the market today. Now you can keep your grass looking fresh while keeping your kids and pets safe. Even if you’re not in the mood to plant, weed and mulch your garden beds to give them a “fresh” appearance before your guests arrive. With these small adjustments, your yard will look like a manicured putting green.

4. Light it up!

Lighting is essential for creating a magical ambiance for summer outdoor gatherings. Pull out your ladder and check and replace the bulbs in your existing outdoor lighting. If your backyard is darker than you’d like, consider installing easy solar-powered lights that don’t require a power-source. Many quality solar brands have an impressive battery life and will last well into the night. Other options are battery-operated LED lanterns, that can be installed virtually anywhere with a weight-bearing hook.

5. Plan for pests.

With the warm weather comes all sorts of creepy crawlies. Again, there are plenty of eco-friendly options if you’d like to spray for insects like ants in the weeks before you entertain. Stock up on deet-free bug spray for guests and citronella candles or citronella oil burners. Another option for pest control is to plant lemongrass, lavender, and mint. Not only are these plants beautiful and functional, they also deter mosquitoes and gnats!

Creative Outdoor Seating

Get creative with your outdoor seating! This sleek modular bench can be used in a variety of ways.

6. Creative seating.

If you plan on entertaining a crowd throughout the season, having a set or two of stackable outdoor chairs tucked away in your shed or garage is a great idea. However, storage space can be an issue for many homes. In this case, get creative and choose seating that serves multiple purposes. For example, simple benches can seat many people, take up minimal space, and can also serve as a place to set a drink down. Cut logs are rustic and decorative, but can be used as either a seat or a side table. Think outside the box to make the most of your space!

7. Shade and shelter.

Summer makes us think of sunshine, but can turn at any moment — especially if you’re living in the Northeast! Whether it’s a sudden scorcher or an unexpected summer storm, be prepared with flexible shelter so your party isn’t crammed indoors or cancelled. Umbrellas with bases are an excellent solution as are “pop up tents,” which can be quickly assembled and easily stored.

We hope you find these tips useful! All of us at The Pajama Company wish you and your family a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Like many Americans, we look for opportunities to support the American worker and American entrepreneur. We’re proud to tell our customers about the brands we carry that produce 100% of their merchandise in the United States.

For more inspiration for family activities or gift ideas, visit us at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

Pajamas Made In America

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Quick and Easy Snack Ideas for March Madness

8 Quick and Easy ‘March Madness’ Snack Ideas

“Oh, by the way, the guys are coming over to watch the game in 30 minutes…” Is March Madness driving you bonkers? The guys are coming over might be a common ‘FYI’ in your house these days. Unlike the Super Bowl, an event you have months to prepare for, the weeks of March Madness can result in a parade of last-minute house guests. Just because the gathering is less “formal,” doesn’t mean that you won’t be expected to provide something to snack on during the game.

A simple solution for any last-minute gathering is to have simple snacks that you can throw together from your pantry with little to no preparation. Here is our collection of game day snacks that will make you look like a super host without any effort. We promise you won’t even have to put real pants on.

Easy Game Day Snack Ideas

With a few items from your pantry, you can whip up a snack to please the crowd (and keep your pajama pants on).

Game Day Snack Ideas from Your Pantry

1. Flatbread Pizza. If you keep flatbread or pita bread on hand, you can have a snack in a flash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the flatbread or pita rounds on a baking tray. Top with whatever you have on hand and bake for 8 minutes. Here are a few combinations to get you started:

  • pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella with pepperoni
  • olive oil and parmesan topped with olives or roasted red peppers
  • shredded sharp cheddar with ham or bacon
  • ricotta, red onion, and asparagus finished with arugula after baking

2. Chips and Queso. What is Velveeta? Who cares. It’s ‘cheese’… we think. It has a long shelf life so you can keep it in your pantry for entertaining emergencies. Drop the block of Velveeta in a small pot or microwavable bowl, top with a can of your favorite chili, and heat until melted while stirring every so often. In five minutes or less you will have a tasty dip to go with chips, a jar of salsa, and beer.

3. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp. Bacon, frozen shrimp, and toothpicks will make an amazing snack to serve alongside cheese and crackers. Thaw out the shrimp, cut the slices of bacon in half, roll up the shrimp in the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or wax paper, line with the wrapped shrimp, and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes — done!

4. Easy Poutine. For a poor man’s version of this Canadian indulgence, just keep a bag of frozen fries on hand. Bake according to instructions on a baking sheet, remove from oven and create a pile of fries. Drizzle with a can of brown gravy and top with shredded cheese (the real deal is made with cheese curds, but use any cheese really). Pop under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve on the baking sheet and let the animals have at it.

Easy Entertaining Ideas for March Madness

White Bean and Rosemary dip is so versatile, you can serve it with anything.

5. White Bean and Rosemary Dip. An alternative to hummus, this is the best dip to make if you don’t want to invest in a tub of tahini and have fresh rosemary on hand. Simply drain a can of cannellini beans and add to your food processor with a squirt of lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary. Blend and add olive oil until you reach the consistency you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips, pita bread, or toasts.

6. Easiest Cheesiest Bean Dip. If there’s anything we learned from our parents or grandparents, it’s that you can make a meal in minute with a can of condensed soup. Keep a can of condensed bean with bacon soup — you know the brand — in your pantry. Stir together the soup, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of minced onion, and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning mix in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir again and microwave an additional 3 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve with chips and you’re done!

7. Easy Mini Meatballs. Keep Italian sausage in your freezer to thaw as you need it. Cut off the casing of the sausage and cut the link into quarter size pieces, rolling them into balls. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place balls on a wax-lined baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with toothpicks and a small bowl of warm pasta sauce for dipping. You can also use Italian turkey or chicken sausage for a lighter option!

8. Hot Crab Dip. Dips that you can bake require minimal effort on your part. Crab dip may sound complicated, but you can make it with items in your kitchen that have a long shelf life. In a bowl, combine a block of softened cream cheese, ⅓ cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, 1 ½ cups shredded cheese of your preference, 1 can of crabmeat, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh onion (red, white, yellow, or green). Mix together then transfer mixture to an oven-friendly baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Stir. Sprinkle sliced almond on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot with crackers!

For more recipes and ideas for entertaining, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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