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Take It Outside

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With the warmer weather finally here, it seems like everyone’s busy getting their homes ready for outdoor entertaining. Having a party outdoors is not only practical—both the mess and the children stay outside—but also cost-effective. You don’t have to worry about redecorating indoors or renting a space large enough for your gathering.

Here are some fun, affordable ways to entertain this season:

• Save on costly table rentals and host a picnic by candlelight. Have friends bring blankets, and you provide the picnic fare. Create ambiance with an outdoor fire pit or by hanging lanterns on shepherd’s hooks near each blanket.

• Save room for dessert and host a sundae party poolside. Serve up ice cream, toppings and sauces on a buffet bar. Guests can make their own creations, then clean up by jumping in the pool.

• Go green and gourmet. Invite friends over to sample veggies you’ve grown in your garden. Serve up grilled zucchini or summer squash, and create a summer salad with heirloom tomatoes. Use pots of fresh herbs as your centerpiece. Don’t have a garden of your own? Consider joining a farm share. Contact Greener Partners, a local nonprofit that can help you find a farm in your area, at greenerpartners.org.

• Host a family movie night under the stars. Hang up a white sheet on the side of your house or garage, and project a movie onto the wall using your laptop and an LCD projector. Line up your most comfortable lounge chairs, and serve popcorn, ice cream and lemonade.

Are you planning to entertain outdoors this summer? Share your fun and family-friendly ideas by posting a comment below.

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