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Whether it’s a New England clambake, a Hawaiian luau or a traditional backyard barbeque, these tips make it simple and cost effective to throw a party to remember.

Once you’ve picked the date and the guest list, you’re ready to plan the décor. To kick off any fete, I recommend a conversation starter and an “Oh Wow” factor (that can be the invitation, décor or even a specialty cocktail).

Invitations are your guests’ first clue as to the theme of the party. If you’re planning a nautical-themed party, send the invitation in a bottle filled with sand. Carry the theme into the party with seashells as place cards and navy tablecloths. Flowers, such as sunflowers, daisies or chrysanthemums, are a beautiful, simple centerpiece.

Party refreshments should match the weather-light and easy. For example, serve a fresh gazpacho as a first course, followed by the BBQ staples of hamburgers, grilled chicken, veggie burgers and ribs.

Easy and healthy side salads include Spanish salad with mandarin oranges and couscous with apricot. And for dessert, try a simple bowl of ice cream dressed up with strawberries.

For the bar, you want to keep it simple, flavorful, colorful and fun. One of my favorites is Southseas Punch; just blend ice with a fresh banana, splash of pineapple juice and 1/2 bottle of Zima XXX Hard Punch. Serve in a pint glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge and an orchid flower. Serving beverages such as Zima XXX, that come in bright colors, is the perfect way to make a splash at your everyday get-together. For non-drinkers, try a hibiscus iced tea garnished with mint for instant refreshment.

To make sure yours is the party they remember-and always make time for-be sure to give guests a memorable party favor as a parting gift. You don’t need to spend a lot to make personalized favors. Get out your old instant Polaroid and take snaps of all the fun moments throughout the party. Make your own customized labels with the date and theme of the party and give one to each of your guests.

Refreshments should match the weather-light and easy. When planning drinks for your party, keep them simple, flavorful, colorful and fun.

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When it comes to fun family entertainment, consider teaching your child old fashioned magic tricks. This is a great way to kill time while waiting for an event to start or to stop those annoying questions of “are we there yet?” while driving in the car. Consider bringing clever magic tricks with you on vacation or camping trip so you children will have no complaints of being bored. You can find magic tricks at any specialty store or even your child’s favorite toy store. Many magic tricks do not require any additional materials, besides the old standby of a handkerchief or a bright, shiny penny.

One fantastic option for individuals wishing to teach their kids magic tricks are the Klutz series of books. These books teach kids, “tweens,” and teenagers all sorts of things, from different ways to braid hair to how to perform a variety of tricks using an old fashioned wooden yoyo. In addition to in depth instruction especially for the younger crowd, these books include several accessories that are necessary for performing the task. From their instruction book on magic tricks to their instruction book on card tricks, the Klutz series are perfect for any individual of any age looking to learn magic.

A quick trip to your favorite bookstore or local library will result in a plethora of books that will provide you with step by step instruction when it comes to teaching your child magic tricks. From classic tricks that are sure to elicit a chuckle to in depth slights of hand, magic tricks, and illusions that will wow all audiences, you are sure to find out how to perform each task with in depth step by step instructions that anyone will be able to flawlessly follow.

Consider bringing some necessary tools for teaching the specific magic tricks along on a long plane or train ride so your kids can do something more productive than mindlessly play video games or argue. This is a great idea if you are traveling to a city with a renowned magic shop, museum of magic, or show that features world class magicians. For instance, if you are traveling to Las Vegas to see the fantastic Lance Burton, teach your kids a few magic tricks along the way to make the show hit closer to home.

Magic tricks are great for school or club talent shows in which your child wishes to participate. Quite often, children are left at a loss when it comes to participating in talent shows and may feel left out if they cannot think of a talent that has not been chosen. Everyone sings or dances on stage at a talent show, but few children can don a magic hat and cape and perform astounding tricks of slight of hand or illusions. Learning magic can boost a child’s self esteem, especially when he or she finally gets the gist of the trick and is able to flawlessly perform the trick in front of an audience. Who knows, your child may be the next great magician and they will only have you to thank for showing them basic magic tricks!

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The location for a family reunion is very important. You
can hold it indoors or outdoors and on your family’s
property or public property.

You need to make sure that the entire family or at least a
majority agree with the location.

If half of your family are into extreme sports and the
other half consider church exciting, it can be very hard to
compromise and you may end up having to have everyone vote
on a choice of different places.

A family home or something very memorable to everyone is
always a good idea and doesn’t require reservations or

Tourist destinations are great for family reunions. This
includes theme parks, beaches, resorts, or even a nice
hotel with something fun nearby.

Many of these places will offer a great discount if you
tell them you are setting up a family reunion there.

Disneyland for example has special packages designed for
this sort of thing. The best time to visit tourist
destinations is during the off season. Instead of setting
up a family reunion for June, try May. There will be a lot
less people there and rates may be a lot cheaper.

If you decide to rent either a park, church, or other
public facility, make sure to plan as far in advance as

Some places may require some type of permit if your family
is very large and others may need a security deposit as
well. National parks aren’t very expensive if your family
loves the outdoors and you could even turn it into a big
camp-out if everyone is willing.