How to Host the Best Memorial Day Party of the Season

Summer — it’s the season of barbecues, pool parties, cold beers, and kicking back. Memorial Day is the perfect occasion for coming together, celebrating our fallen soldiers, and being with those we love. However, hosting a fun party doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

Besides the Barbecue

A barbecue cookout and Memorial Day go together like sweet tea and sugar. Most of us have our own favorite sauces or spices ready to rock, but what else can we serve to go with the protein? One way to cut back costs is to host a potluck and have each guest bring a side, a drink, or paper dishware. However, if you want to have some basics on hand, there are some side dishes that go excellently with any barbecue. Use fresh summer vegetables and fruits to keep spending down, and remember, you can grill almost anything. As for drinks, beer, wine, and local sodas always go well on a hot summer evening.

Parties with a Pool

If you’re fortunate enough to have a pool, a pool party can give you a whole day of fun, for kids and adults alike. Of course, that means you need to make safety your number one concern, as anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Always have a designated adult supervising without distraction, and that means no phone, no book — nothing but watching the children. Have a set of rules that everyone knows and understands, such as no diving and no running. If a group of little ones has never met before, have some games ready to play to act as ice breakers. If all else fails, set up a squirt gun race to give them an energetic (but fun) contest.

Decorating Your Backyard

The best way to decorate is to remember your theme: Memorial Day. Make red, white, and blue your color palette, and add a potluck element to your décor as well. Have everyone bring a blanket or towel to sit on so you can enjoy the grass in the sun. For inexpensive decorations, check out thrift stores and cheaper outlet-like shops such as Walmart. When the daylight dims, use flameless candles to keep things safe. After all, you never know when someone may accidentally knock one over, and a real candle has the potential to start a fire. Not only that, but you never have to buy more, as they will never melt.

Commemoration

One important thing to acknowledge is that Memorial Day is meant to commemorate those who have served our country and fallen. Make sure that you organize something to recognize the men and women in the armed forces. You could have a moment of silence, spend a few minutes writing to those who are deployed, or set up a donation box for your favorite military charity. For instance, there are organizations that assist families of veterans, help veterans transition careers, pay for service dogs, or support the USO. Even if everyone only gives a few dollars, that can add up to a sizeable donation, and every bit really does help.

Outdoor Games for All Ages

You don’t want to end up with everyone simply standing around as they wait for the food to cook. Instead, plan out a few games, both for the children and the adults. Kids usually will be content with a bit of chalk, a handball or some hula hoops. These things are generally pretty cheap, and no one will mind if they get a bit banged up. Similarly, you don’t need to spend much to keep the adults entertained either, as a deck of cards can go a long way, as can pretzels for poker chips or even a Frisbee for Frisbee golf. Get a volleyball or badminton set if you want, but breaking the bank isn't necessary to have a blast with your friends.

As a holiday, Memorial Day is truly the perfect excuse to gather our loved ones and enjoy the summer air. Yet, while it’s an excellent time for a fun day with family and friends, it’s also important to remember those we have lost defending our freedom. Celebrate your Memorial Day and surround yourself with the important people in your life.

Image courtesy of Pixabay


Budget-Friendly Ways Dog Owners
Can Keep a Spotless Home



As much as we love our dogs, there’s not much to love about the messes that come with them. Left unchecked, it doesn’t take long for your puppy’s fur, dander, saliva, and odors to take over your entire household. Since buying cleaning supplies can really eat into your treats and bones budget, we’ve compiled some of our favorite tips on how to save money on the things that keep your dog-friendly house clean.

Be Smart with Price Comparisons
Price comparing used to mean sifting through the Sunday paper advertisements and clipping coupons. Thankfully, the process is much simpler nowadays thanks to the internet. Stock up on budget-friendly cleaning supplies by looking for special offers or deals from big retailers like Amazon. With a cursory online search, you can track down the best coupon codes, in-store offers, and cashback opportunities that will save you the most money.

An Ounce of Prevention...
...is worth a pound of cure. You know the old Ben Franklin saying. Its wisdom applies to tidiness as much as it applies to fire departments. The best way to minimize the amount of mess your dog creates is through proper obedience training, plenty of exercise and regular grooming. A well-trained dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog is less likely to exhibit destructive behaviors out of anxiety. The same goes for exercise -- regular walks and off-leash play time allows your dog to release pent-up energy in the appropriate manner so they don’t take it out on your floors and furniture. Finally, regular grooming can mitigate shedding and prevent things like scratched-up floors due to uncut nails. The number one way to save money on dog grooming? Do it yourself. If you’re not confident in your obedience-training abilities, check out sites like Groupon for local discounts from professionals.

Remove Odors from Carpets
Sometimes, your pup’s presence is notable even when he isn’t in the room-- through his stench. When this happens, it is definitely time to deep clean those carpets. Surprisingly, you don’t have to invest in a steam cleaner to get rid of deep-down pet stains. There are various ways to remove odors with simple and cost-effective products like vinegar, baking soda, and pet enzyme digester you can buy in bulk and dilute. You can also look for online coupons or weekly deals for carpet-cleaning products from retailers like Walmart. If the odors are really stinking up your house and a steam cleaner is your best option, check out weekly deals from stores like Lowe’s to see if they’re offering discounts on steam cleaner rentals.

Make Meal Time More Efficient
Your dog is so grateful when you feed him, so can you really blame him for how excited he gets at dinner? Unfortunately, all that excitement can lead to spilled food and water all over your clean floors. You can prevent spills by placing a rubber-backed placemat underneath his bowls that keep them stationary and your floors clean. Make sure to wash your pup’s bowls and the mats about once or twice a week to ensure they don’t collect dust, dirt, and grime. You can also keep his food fresher and prevent pests by investing in some smaller, reusable plastic containers and divvying up your bulk bags for easier access. Look for online promos or in-store offers from go-to stores like Target for pet food containers, doggy bags and even pet food.

DIY Stations for Doggy Bags
It’s important to always pick up after your dog’s -- ahem -- messes. Dog feces contains harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can harm other animals ... including people. Always have a baggy on hand by placing dispensers around the yard for easy access. This DIY project will cost you less than $20 on materials, and you can stock it with recycled plastic bags from the supermarket instead of having to buy more of those overpriced ones from the pet store.

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Your dog is worth the messes, but it doesn’t make you a bad dog parent if you want to save money on cleaning supplies. Use the power of the internet to find the best deals on essential products. Prevent messes by training your dog, giving him plenty of exercise, and grooming regularly. Avoid expensive steam cleaner rentals and remove odors from carpets with inexpensive ingredients such as white vinegar. Prevent mealtime messes with a rubber backed mat under your dog’s bowls, and always
have a doggy bag on hand by making DIY stations that provide easy access at every corner of your yard.