disclosure: This post is sponsored by Homes.com.

I love summer.

Like adore it and celebrate it and walk through its days with freckles and messy buns and bare feet. And one of my favorite things about summer?

The random backyard get-together.

If you have been reading this blog for more than one hot summer minute, you know that I am cooking challenged.


Words like pot roast and chicken cacciatore and dumplings and anything that starts with crock pot make me shiver. And shake. And think to myself why would I cook when I could be making pillows instead. But in the summer? All that changes. Cooking becomes a ZILLION times easier because in the summer the grillmaster has the hard part.

All you have to do is prepare a fruit tray and adjust your messy bun…

…and you have a party.

Here are some of my best outdoor entertaining tips.

No shoes required.

1. The more non-matching chairs the merrier

You are outside.

The grass and trees don’t care if your chairs match.

When we eat in the backyard, everyone just grabs a chair and head outside.

Every eater for him (or her) self.

2. Cut flowers from your yard to decorate the table

You’re already outside.

The flowers are right around the corner.

Just snip off a few blooms or greenery or leaves or branches or whatever your yard tells you to.

3.  Use dish towels as linens

I’ve tried paper outside before and it just blows away.

Dish towels are a great option.

Then I use them to clean up the table afterward.

4. Decorate vertically

Create a vertical display. This is reserved for fancy parties only.

It takes a little work, but it’s so worth it.

I took an old tray O had with holes on the sides, hung it from jute twine and then just filled it with greenery from the yard.

5.  Add outdoor games

I always want to talk after dinner.

My teenagers don’t.

With a little planning, I have outdoor games ready for them like horseshoes or croquet or whiffle ball to play after dinner.

More talking time for me.

6.  Think fresh

There’s just something about eating fresh vegetables outside that reminds me of summer.

Shop farmer’s markets, roadside stands or even the organic section of the grocery store for the freshest options around.

In just minutes you can have corn coming out our ears here (pun totally intended).

7.  Don’t stress

Don’t worry.

The grillmaster did all the cooking.

You got your vegetables ready and waited for the party to show up.

And the best part of eating outside.

If something spills, there’s no need to clean it up.

Just sit back, relax and enjoy family and friends and dancing sunlight….

….and all that conversation. 🙂

And in EXCITING NEWS!!!!!! (Definitely 5 exclamation point worthy). I’m hosting my first EVER Facebook show with Homes.com. It’s this coming Wednesday at 1 pm CST/2 pm EST over on the Homes.com page! I’ve got even more practical, easy tips for outdoor entertaining and we are having GIVEAWAYS on the LIVE SHOW!

We are giving away this complete BLUE and WHITE entertaining set from Williams and Sonoma.


We are giving away a grilling tool set.


Grill pans for all your veggie needs

All you have to do to enter is join us for the LIVE SHOW and LIKE and COMMENT on the show post once it goes LIVE. For extra entries you can LIKE the Homes.com Facebook and Instagram pages.

I can’t WAIT to see you there!

disclosure: this post was written in collaboration with Homes.com.
All opinions are my own.
Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I love the fact that eating outdoors you can let things fall on the ground! We have a driveway (gravel) that we use and it is so good; sturdy and dryer than ground. We love to entertain!!!

  2. Image for Jenn Jenn

    How fun...I love the why would I cook when I could be making pillows!! I can totally relate...except I still have to cook...darn kids and the three meals a day thing! Ha! Congrats on your opportunity!

  3. Image for Regina Wilson Regina Wilson

    Please unsubsidised me from your blog. I received your email,but I can't find where to stop it. I am having problems with my computer. That's why I have to delete several items. I would appreciate your assistance. Thank You!

  4. Image for Kris Kris

    Maybe we should move next door to each other. I wonder why you would make pillows when cookies are so much tastier! Ha! You are so right, there is something relaxed about entertaining during the summer--I think fresh fruit and veggies (and grills!) have a lot to do with that.


    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! I want to sit down at the table and join you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Image for Tracy Tracy

    That looks so fun. I just love the warm days of spring , summer and fall. Being outside enjoying family and friends with food and games is the best. Great idea on the dishtowels.

  7. Image for Ann Zimmermann Ann Zimmermann

    I'm sure you are a fabulous entertainer. Here is a great tip for corn on the cob. Place the corn in the micro ( just like it comes from the grocery before it is is shucked). Try to leave a little space between the ears. Cook 4 minutes per ear. Take it out and cut off the stalk end. Then, believe it or not, you can shake the corn right out of its "jacket" and it will be as smooth as silk. (pun intended). Yes, it actually works.

  8. Image for Carol Neibling Carol Neibling

    I hope someone gives you a brush to clean the silks off the corn before cooking. It only takes a minute to make it look neat and cut the pointed edge off. Then y ou can fix it. I live on a farm and have frozen lots of corn for the winter.

  9. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    What a great idea with dish towels! You are on my calendar with alarms, bells and whistles to remind me. Go girl!!

  10. Image for Deb Wostmann Deb Wostmann

    Love dining outside in the summer. Dang, I'll be on a plane and will miss your Homes.com Facebook show, but it'll be great just like you!

  11. Image for june june

    Great ideas! Hope to be able to tune in Wednesday. Congrats on such a great opportunity. You have worked so hard...so many blessings coming your way❤️

  12. Image for PJ PJ

    Everything looks so inviting, but I like that tray that's hanging. So pretty. I gotta say, that red lipstick adds to the festivities. You rock it, girl.

  13. Image for Mary Caliendo Mary Caliendo

    This is so lovely! I love everything about it! Can't wait to see you live, I'll be babysitting my grandkids, I hope I won't miss you! Congratulations on this show you are AMAZING! Love Ya girl!

  14. Image for Barbara Chapman Barbara Chapman

    How fun, KariAnne!!! I hope I remember to tune it... It'd be fun just to watch your show! <3 Love your outdoor table set under the tree here!!! <3 Pinned several plus about your FB live show. Summer hugs, Barb :)

  15. Image for Dee Dee

    You make every occasion and look like hi superfestive incredibly gorgeous oh I wish I was there how fabulous everything is party! Yes, that is supposed to be a run-on sentence because it's all those things * 100! 😄😘😘 By the way, this would be a great time for me to add a whole big bunch of exclamation points play really mean every word! And the exclamation points are for you not me LOL!!!

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