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Simple and Inexpensive Outdoor Entertaining

It’s Spring! Time for Outdoor Entertaining…and Ice Cream!

Have I ever confessed that hospitality scares me? I mean, it completely freaks me out! I don’t have too many fears these days, but for whatever reason, inviting people over terrifies me. I need to get over it.

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons for inviting people over, as it’s fairly easy to throw together a fun event in the backyard. Think barbecue. Or something simpler. Like ice cream.

Simple and Inexpensive Outdoor Entertaining

The thing I love about outdoor entertaining is that decorating is simple and inexpensive. You really don’t need anything more than a tablecloth and paper plates. But if you’re like me and like to spruce things up a bit, it’s easy to find inexpensive outdoor table settings.

When I went to Walmart a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a few items to help me get over my fear of hospitality this summer. I used a few for an impromptu post-Easter festivities ice cream party on Sunday. It was the perfect way to end a warm spring day.

Outdoor Entertaining Supplies

This year I really love Walmart’s selection of dishes for outdoor entertaining. They’re inexpensive, and they all coordinate, making for a fun table setting for any party.

First, I picked up a Mainstays vinyl tablecloth for $9.96. I love the bright stripes, and it’s the perfect size for a picnic table!

Ice Cream Sundae

I also bought some BPA free floral plastic bowls, figuring we’re always eating ice cream. The flowers coordinate perfectly with the stripes in the tablecloth. Cost? Just $1.98 per bowl. I also picked up some melon colored dip bowls, which are the perfect size for ice cream toppings. These were just $1.48 each. There were only four left t my store, so I bought them all!

When you’re entertaining outdoors, it’s always nice to have something to drink on hand for your guests, too. I love mason jars, so when I saw this glass mason jar drink dispenser by Aladdin, I knew I could make good use of it. It was only $9.48. That’s not bad for glass!

Aladdin Water Dispenser

Finally, I hate to be wasteful in using plastic cups and paper plates. For $1.00 each, I picked up some lime green insulated party cups. They’re also BPA free, which is really important to me. And here’s a tip: To make sure guests don’t lose track of their cups, use a dry erase marker to write their names on the cup. It wipes right off the plastic.

In the end I know that hospitality has nothing to do with beautiful place settings and fun accessories. However, a little splash of fun colors never hurt, right? So who wants to come over for ice cream?


  • Tina Butler

    How fun Lynnae! I love all the colors.

    • Lynnae McCoy

      I love the colors, too! I think I need to pick up some more dishes to expand my little collection!

  • Erika

    I love the tip about writing your guests names on insulated cups with a dry erase marker – we might try that this weekend! Also, I think it is so funny that you say that you are not a fan of having people over – I am the SAME way. I think all of my friends must think I’m a looney bird because they all invite us over frequently, but several of them have never been to my house. Having company gives me a panic attack. So glad to know I’m not alone!

    • Lynnae McCoy

      I never would have guessed that about you, Erika! Glad I’m not alone either!

  • Julieanne

    I bought Walmart’s plastic two-gallon version of their mason jar drink dispenser, since we were having a bunch of friends and relatives over for Easter dinner, but as I poured in the homemade honey lemonade, it began leaking out the very bottom of the plastic dispenser. I almost bought the glass jar that you show – but decided to get the larger 2-gallon version that was plastic, even though I’m not a big plastic fan. :( I’ll be taking the larger plastic version back – and buying the glass version that you pictured in your blog post. :)

    • Lynnae McCoy

      I hope the glass works for you, Julieanne! I almost bought the larger plastic version, but I really do prefer glass. I figure I can always pick up another glass dispenser, if my one gallon isn’t enough.