Grilled Hot Wings + 6 Tips to Make Your Summer Cookout a Success

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Summer time is party time!  My husband and I love to have cookouts during the summer, and we are sort of famous for our last minute impromptu get-togethers, featuring my husband’s grilled masterpieces, and my amazing sides and desserts.  Today I’m excited to offer you an easy but unique recipe for your next cookout, plus tips to make your summer cookout a success from prep to clean up.


Party Time Clean Up Essentials

When it comes to parties, most people focus on the food first and then the decorations, but you must not forget other essentials like plates, cups, eating utensils, and of course, something to help guests to clean their hands.  VIVA® Vantage® Big Roll Paper Towels come in a convenient 6 pack that is perfect for your party.  I love putting out a roll of paper towels, because it is easy, convenient, and cost effective.  Also, in the event of a spill, you just grab a roll and get to cleaning!

Paper towels can also be a big help for cleaning as you go before your party begins.  Just wipe down tables and counter tops as you work, so the messes don’t add up!  Then after the party is over, I like to grab my favorite spray cleaner and a roll of paper towels for quick clean up!

New Kleenex® Wet Wipes Gentle Clean are also a convenient product to have on hand.  These are safe to use on hands and your face.

Summer parties are often outdoors, which means no sink is immediately available, and so it’s great to offer guests some wipes for personal clean up (especially if you are serving a messy food like ribs, wings, or ice cream).

I recommend placing a package of Kleenex® Wet Wipes at the center of each of the tables where people will be eating, as well as an additional package next to your messiest foods, which may require the use of the wipes (ie – right next to your tray of hot wings).

You can find both of these products in the bath tissue, facial tissue and paper towel aisle at your local Kroger.  I used my Kroger Plus card and was able to save $5 on the VIVA® Vantage® Big Roll Paper Towels 6 pack!

The Kleenex® wipes found on the facial tissue aisle.  I actually found them on the same aisle as the paper towels.  I found them at the opposite end of the aisle, in between bath tissue and facial tissue.

Place Non-Food Essentials in One Place

I have been to so many parties and get-togethers where everyone appears lost!  Where are the plates?  I can’t find the cups!  I forgot to get a paper towel. Where are the forks?  The confusion can be solved rather easily, by placing all of these essential items at the end of your buffet, all together in one place.

Fun Theme

Even the smallest party can be made more fun with a few decorations.  My stepson recently graduated high school and will be leaving in August to join the army, so for his upcoming party, I would use some simple red, white, and blue decorations.  I LOVE patriotic decorations to begin with, so this is an especially fun theme for me.  Plus, with Memorial Day and the 4th of July being summer time holidays it is very easy to find paper plates, balloons, tablecloths, and other fun decorations and party favors to go with this theme.

Make Ahead Menu Items

To shorten prep time and make less mess on the day of your party, choose a few make ahead menu items.

  • Casseroles that can be mixed up the night before and simply warmed in the oven the next day are great.
  • You can also make salads the night before. (We always make our potato salad a day ahead!)
  • No bake desserts are also great for this, as well most other desserts from homemade cookies to pies and cupcakes.

Unique Menu

Think outside the box when planning your menu; just a few unique menu items can take your menu from bland and basic to original and full of flavor.

Right now we are brainstorming party ideas for Noah. My husband and I LOVE to do cookouts, and we also love doing appetizer parties, so my idea is to do a combination of the two.  I’d like to serve hamburgers and hot dogs (because it is easy and everyone loves it), but I also want to throw in some of our favorite appetizers like hot wings, sausage balls, and buffalo chicken dip.

You could also add a few appetizers to your menu if your are having a fish fry.  Or offer up veggie kebobs alongside your grilled steaks or barbecue chicken.

Fresh fruits and salads are also great additions to your backyard barbecue, and of course, you never want to forget the dessert!

Fire Up That Grill!

If you’re serving appetizers at your next cookout, I have a simple, yet unique recipe.  Where I live hot wings are not typically served at a barbecue.  They are usually reserved for tailgating parties and holiday parties, so just having them at a summer party is an interesting menu twist for us.  And if that’s not enough, these wings are GRILLED!  Usually when people think of wings, they think of wings fried in a fryer.

Grilling your wings will add extra flavor that frying just won’t do, and because you aren’t using any oil, and the fat from the wings drips down into your grill, your wings will actually be a lot more healthy!




Enter the #MakeYourSummer Sweepstakes for a chance to win a Kroger gift card or a NASCAR experience!

  • No Purchase Necessary. The #MakeYourSummer #Sweepstakes begins on June 11, 2018 at 12:00:00 AM ET and ends on July 23, 2018 at 11:59:59 PM ET.
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  • Void where prohibited. By participating, you agree to the Official Rules at
  • All shared entries should include: #MakeYourSummer #Sweepstakes. Ends 7/23/18. See rules at

Do you love cookouts and summer parties? Visit the Make Your Summer Social Hub for more unique grilling inspiration.  And as always, I invite you to join the conversation by commenting on today’s post!

Friday Favorites – Week 326 – With 4th of July Decor

Hello everyone! Welcome to this week’s linky party. This week I have another round of patriotic, 4th of July craft and decor ideas.  I hope you enjoy them!  And as always, I invite you to share your favorite posts using the linky at the end of this post!
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Friday Favorites – Week 324 – With Patriotic Decor

Happy Friday Everyone! This week we are celebrating the stars and stripes with some great patriotic decorations!  I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love anything red, white, and blue, especially when you throw in a mix of old-timey, shabby chic elements.  I’d be happy decorating my home with this stuff all year round!  If you feel the same way, then I know you will love this week’s features!  Check them out, and as always I invite you to share your own decor, recipes, and other projects via this week’s linky!

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Friday Favorites – Week 275 – With 4th of July Ideas

Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Favorites. And Happy early 4th of July! In honor of the holiday, we’ve got more red, white, and blue ideas for the 4th of July, including a collection of fun DIY/Decor projects and food!  Hope you enjoy!

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4th of July Printable, Tutorial, and GraphicStock Giveaway

GraphicStock Disclosure

I always love decorating for holidays throughout the year, but I don’t always have a big budget to spend to spend on items I’ll only be using a few a weeks.  Luckily I’ve been able to score a lot of great items at the dollar stores and thrift stores, and I’m always able to find really cute printable art online, and when I can’t find anything I like, sites like GraphicStock and PicMonkey help me to make my own.

GraphicStock is a website which offers over 250000 graphics, vectors, icons, buttons, images, and more!  These can be used for home and party decor, invitations, stationary, greetings cards, and banners, as well as media for businesses and organizations, such as a logo, business cards, flyers, letterheads, and more!  And you can also use the images to create your own custom graphics for blog posts and general web design.

And with so many images to offer, you can find an image, vector, or icon for any project and to fit virtually any style you are looking for.  Today I’m sharing a printable that I made using an image from GraphicStock.  You can download it here for FREE and then frame it.  It will look great on your wall or mantel! [Read more…]

Coca-Cola Happy Hour + Patriotic Coke-Inspired Table Decor

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CokeHappyHour #CollectiveBias
Coke Bottles

I’m so excited about the hot summer weather here! One of my favorite summer activities is just sitting on the front porch or the back deck with my hubby.  Whether we’re sitting out in the hot sun or under the stars at night, it is always good to have this time to spend with him just laughing and talking as we share a Coke!

This summer Coca-Cola has brought back their Share a Coke campaign, complete with fun personalized bottles and cans.  Coke has always been my favorite drink, and last year I had my fair share of cans and bottles with fun words like “Superstar” and Soulmate” written on them.  Then this year I’ve gotten bottles that feature emoticons and the words “Love” and “Amor.”  But even better than that, I found a bottle with my husband’s name on it! [Read more…]

Friday Favorites – Week 224 – With 4th of July Decor

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Happy 4th of July to all our friends here in the states! And welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Favorites. This week in honor of our Independence Day, I’m featuring some festive 4th of July Decor ideas and tutorials.  Hope you enjoy these!  Have a great holiday weekend!

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Friday Favorites – Week 223 – With 4th of July Treats

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Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Favorites. We’re gearing up for 4th of July this week with a few treats that would be perfect for your backyard barbecue. Hope you enjoy!
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4th of July Party Tips and Products #OrientalTrading

This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.

4th of July Party with Oriental Trading

 With 4th of July just around the corner,  you’re probably thinking fireworks and barbecues!  Today I’m sharing some products and ideas to help you decorate for party and give your backyard barbecue a real patriotic feel.  I received a great assortment of products from Oriental Trading.  Although you may think of the company as the place to buy favors, banners, games, and paper plates for your party, as you browse their selections, you will actually find a great assortment of high quality home decor such as wreaths, table center pieces, and even wall signs and glass platters.

 Here’s a quick list of the items I got:

I just love this stuff!  I’m especially impressed with the high quality of the items I received, as well as the colors and overall look.  Everything is such a great value, and there are a number of things to fit various personal styles and needs.  Even if you are not having a party and just want a few patriotic pieces to put out in your house to decorate for the summer months, Oriental Trading has some great finds.

Take a closer look at some of the items I received, and you will see just how easy it is to turn your back yard into a festive place for the upcoming holiday.

4th of July Table

Table Decor Made Easy! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a festive table. If you set your table ahead of time with your plates, napkins, and cups, then your table will look festive already without adding anything else.  Oriental Trading has a great party pack that includes invites, plates, napkins, and cups for 4th of July, and they look great!

For a little extra decor, you can buy inexpensive party favors.  I got a few fans on this table, which are perfect for the adult table, and Oriental Trading has tons of great kid’s party favors that would be suitable to place on tables.  (Hint: For summer parties, consider adding party favors to the children’s table, such as sunglasses, visors, bubbles, frisbees, or other outdoor toys.  These can often be bought in packages of 10-12.)

4th of July Party Table

As for additional decor, a great centerpiece can go a long way.  This utensil basket made a very festive centerpiece.  And I’ve surrounded it here with out patriotic looking dishes.  These are of a super great quality!  For the perfect pre-party decor, you can place your dishes on the table ahead of time. Then just before the party, place the food in your bowls and trays for the ultimate party table!

Kool-Aid Drink Cart 2

Easy Drink Bar!  If you don’t have a bar, you can still have a festive drink area.  Just use a small table or cart.  A festive table-cloth, fabric piece, or banner, will really dress up your table.  Then just add you a bowl of ice, drinks, cups, other essentials, and perhaps one or two pieces of table decor.

4th of July Basket

Home Decor Made Easy! To make your home a little more patriotic, Oriental Trading has some really cute items.  As you can see, the basket makes another appearance here.  I’ve placed this on top of a cabinet in my kitchen,  along with these super cute metal stars, and some star/berry garland that I already had on hand.  Again, here you only need a few items to add a little color to a shelf or cabinet area.


And I, of course, LOVE wreaths!  This wreath is a smaller size than a lot of others that I have, but I looks great, and I love the festive color, as well as the texture of it.

We Love America

Last but not least, you can adorn your front porch and garden area with a cute sign such as the one above.  The metal stick is included, and the flag is super cute! And to add more color to your porch, Oriental Trading has a great selection of banners and window decor.

Do you decorate in the summer? Please leave me a comment telling us your favorite summer decor trend!


Friday Favorites – Week 173

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Hi everyone! Happy 4th of July to those of you who live in the states! And thanks for stopping by for this week’s party!  This week’s features include some sweet, fruity treats. Hope you enjoy them! Also, be sure to check out my latest giveaway, which is for a copy of of Dining Out at Home Cookbook 2! [Read more…]