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I’ll admit it—there was a time when I hesitated to invite friends over because I felt our home wasn’t perfectly clean or I didn’t have to time to make everything from scratch.   Instead of inviting the Aloha spirit into our home, I hid from it. 

With age comes wisdom I suppose, because soon I began to realize the amount of effort I put into entertaining wasn’t equal to the amount of fun we had—in fact, it was just the opposite.  Casual, last minute get-togethers became the most enjoyable for everyone with easy laughter and stories filling each moment.  Instead of sweating the small stuff, I began to realize it was the people and laughter that brought us together and the food itself was really just a delicious excuse.

Now instead of fretting about what to make, I simply invite people over and know it’ll all come together.  Of course, there’s a few ways I make that even easier and by planning ahead I’m free to enjoy myself—and the laughter—the rest of the night.

  • If guests ask what to bring, don’t hesitate to tell them.  There’s a reason Pot Lucks are so popular; many hands make short work!

Laughter Brings Us Together - Silverware

  • Don’t be scared to use disposable plates and cups.  If you are worried about the environment, there’s several types of eco-friendly and compostable disposable servingware on the market.  Another tip is to write each guests’ name on the cups so they don’t get mixed up.  Using disposable cups and plates makes clean-up a snap.

Laughter Brings Us Together

  • Another kid-friendly favorite are these plastic food baskets.  I line them with a napkin or parchment paper and fill them with food for the kids.  Unbreakable and super easy to clean, the kids think they are big stuff when they have their own basket of food!

Laughter Brings Us Together - Baskets

  • Kabobs are the BOMB.  You can make them ahead of time, fill them with all types of meat and veggies, and quickly have a delicious grilled dinner.  We love digging into a plate of kabobs, and everyone can choose the type of meat or veggies they like.  Really in a hurry?  Most supermarkets sell them in the meat case already skewered which means you only need to throw them on the grill.

Laughter Brings Us Together - Hot Dogs

  • Set out pitchers of water with berries, fruit, lemon, and ice for guests to drink.  Refreshing, easy and healthy!
  • Throw some pineapple on the grill.  It makes a delicious topping for burgers or sandwiches.

Laughter Brings Us Together - Pineapple

  • Have a bin of games and props handy, if you like.  We keep a bunch of leis, hats/crowns, and a tub full of lawn games like croquet out at parties, and it’s always fun to see what happens.  Be sure to have a camera ready!

Laughter Brings Us Together - Crown

  •  I used to make all my salads and side dishes from scratch, which added to the prep time for parties.  Then I realized my local grocery store has delicious salads, so now I pop the store bought salad into pretty dishes and voila—instant party.   I’ve found it’s nice to have a green salad, a fruit salad, and a pasta or potato salad so everyone has something they love to eat.

Laughter Brings Us Together - Pasta Salad

Laughter Brings Us Together - KING'S HAWAIIAN® Original Hawaiian Sweet Sandwich Buns

When it’s all said and done, it’s the laughter that brings us together. Smiling, joking, and breaking bread with friends is great medicine for a boring week.  You don’t need to live in Hawaii to experience the Aloha spirit.  Just invite it into your home using some of the tips above.  Now, how many more days until the weekend?  It’s {easy} summer party time!

Laughter Brings Us Together - Plate