What Should You Do This Month? Throw a Backyard Solstice Party to Celebrate the Start of Summer

What Should You Do This Month? Throw a Backyard Solstice Party to Celebrate the Start of Summer

Backyard Solstice Party

While many Americans think that summer starts on Memorial Day, it officially begins on summer solstice, usually June 21 in the Northern hemisphere. The longest day of the year seems like the ideal excuse for a party, so here are some ideas for a backyard celebration of midsummer. And if you don’t get around to throwing a summer solstice party, there’s no expiration date on these outdoor party ideas!

For these summer solstice party ideas, I wanted to spotlight some of the things that are better in summer than any other part of the year. So I’m sticking with a theme of seasonal produce and flowers, accented with white lights and candles. You can keep it simple, or you can go all out with DIY projects if you’ve got the urge.

The Food

Grilled pizzas are a great way to showcase summer produce, and it would be fun to let people pick their own toppings.

This beautiful heirloom tomato and grilled vegetable salad is perfect for those tricky party guests who don’t eat meat, dairy, or gluten (and if you plate it this nicely, it might entice everyone else into eating more veggies.)

A summer solstice party wouldn’t be complete without berries. This summer berry cake is a showstopper.

Another option is this Swedish midsummer cake. Or you can always keep it simple with a classic strawberry shortcake. Adding edible flowers makes almost any dessert look midsummer-worthy. (Here’s a long list of edible flowers.)

The Drinks

If you want to go the cocktail route, making up batches of drinks saves you the trouble of bartending during the party. Strawberry rhubarb sangria, made with sparkling wine, sounds light and refreshing.

For a more savory cocktail, try cucumber-lime-infused gin and tonics.

Don’t forget the non-drinkers in the crowd. Sparkling lavender lemonade or thyme lemonade sound like lovely options.

The Decor

These herb napkin rings are simple and organic, and probably smell wonderful, too.

Solar-powered Mason jar lights are a charming option, and practical if you don’t have easy access to outdoor outlets.

DIY floral ice buckets are a gorgeous way to keep your wine cool, and double as decor. Make as many as your freezer can handle, and scatter them throughout your yard, or use them as table centerpieces. For a much simpler variation, freeze fresh herbs and edible flowers into ice cubes for drinks.

Strings of white cafe lights are perfect for that evening fairy-light ambiance.

String lights

Go all out with a handmade floral chandelier. Bonus points if you grow your own flowers. If you’re not feeling quite so ambitious, just pile your tables with vases overflowing with flowers from the store.

The Entertainment

Whether you turn it into a drinking game or not, giant Jenga is nearly always a hit at outdoor parties, and is the only entertainment you’ll need at your summer solstice party. With some 2×4’s, a saw, and some sandpaper, you can easily make your own giant Jenga set. You can always buy a set if you’re not inclined to make one.

Summer solstice party ideas
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This Simple Trick will Make the Ice in your Cooler Last Longer

This Simple Trick will Make the Ice in your Cooler Last Longer

Summer is the ideal time of year for family outings, beach days, picnics, adventures in the park and so on. You probably bring along an ice chest to keep your drinks and a few snacks cold, but in the hot sun, that ice will be melted in no time. One sure-fire way to make the ice in your ice chest last longer is to add a simple household item…salt. Rock salt, to be exact. Much like salt helps freeze ice cream as it churns, it can help the ice in your cooler last longer because salt lowers the freezing point. Here’s how this technique and several others can help the ice in your ice chest last longer!

This Simple Trick will Make the Ice in your Ice Chest Last Longer

1. Add Rock Salt to your Ice Chest

You can either add rock salt to a cooler full of ice, or you can actually make ice by freezing salt water. Either can help reduce the freezing point so that the ice lasts longer. However, this will only help if you follow a few other tips as well. 

2. Maintain Ice and Water Levels 

Don’t drain your cooler as the ice melts! Keeping the water inside the cooler means that air won’t get between the ice, reducing melting. If possible, add more ice halfway through the day.

3. Bury your Ice Chest or Raise It

Avoid having the ice chest directly on hot ground if you can. Raise it to encourage airflow underneath or bury it into the sand at the beach (where it’s cooler). 

The other obvious way to keep your ice frozen is to open your ice chest as little as possible. You know when your dad yells at you for “air conditioning the whole neighborhood?” Well, the same is true for your ice chest. Keeping the lid closed keeps the coldness inside, so only open it when you need something!

This Simple Trick will Make the Ice in your Ice Chest Last Longer

If you combine these three tricks, your ice will (hopefully) last all day or for the length of your event. Remember, the quality of your ice chest also makes a difference! The more insulated and high-end the cooler, the better it will cool your food and drinks, so don’t skimp if you really need something that will last. You can also help your cause by purchasing a lighter colored ice chest as it will reflect the light rather than absorb it. Personally, my mini cooler works perfectly for me, and as long as it’s kept in a cool place, my ice lasts more than a full day!

PS, you can find this DIY holographic cooler on my blog!