Category Archives: Home Family

Baby Onesies – 10 Funny Baby Onesies Sayings

We have all seen them, those hilarious baby onesies with witty sayings on them. Sure, we all like the classic onesies that say “I Love Mommy” or “Daddy’s Little Girl”, but we can’t help but smile to ourselves when we see a onesie that says, “Who you calling poopy?”. What is it that draws us to this type of humor? I believe part of the answer lies in the fact that if we were in the baby’s shoes, we might actually be thinking “I’d rather be naked. ” I’ve searched the web, read through magazines, and spent countless hours in the mall to bring you the following ten funny baby onesie sayings:

#10 For boys: “Mama’s Boy”
This one is a classic funny baby onesie. You will think this one is especially cute and funny on your own baby boy. Dad might disagree.

#9 For boys: “Lock Up Your Daughters”
Granted, fathers will probably find this more amusing than mothers; it gives them that manly feeling that they seek after all too often. I’ll probably buy my baby boy one, although I fear what this might do to his father’s already inflated ego (he thinks his masculinity is the reason we had a boy in the first place).

#8 For boys and girls: “I don’t need mistletoe. ”
Who can keep their lips off of newborns? Babies are just too cute, though I must admit the germ implications are enough to make me cringe.

#7 For boys and girls: “Milk Tester”
Babies are excellent milk testers. If the milk is bad, they simply throw it back up at you (although they do the same thing when the milk is good). If the baby is a milk tester, then what does that make us Moms? Milk manufacturers?

#6 For boys and girls: “Nobody sleeps until I’m ready!”
This is funny depending on what time of the day it is.

#5 For boys and girls: “Meet your new boss. ”
The good news is that your new boss is probably cuter than your old one. The bad news: he probably whines about the same amount.

#4 For boys and girls, mostly boys: “I’m so happy I could pee. ”
The minute my tender, loving, baby boy was born he peed all over the nurses. I’m not exaggerating – within 30 seconds he had already sprinkled two nurses. I attribute the lack of control over his bodily functions to his father.

#3 For boys and girls: “Arrrrgg (picture of pirate) change me booty. ”
You have to love the creativity that people put into baby onesies.

#2 For boys and girls: “Spoiled Rotten (or is that my diaper?). ”
In most cases the answer to this question is “yes” on both accounts (especially if the grandparents live nearby).

#1 For girls and boys: “Does this diaper make my butt look fat?”
A great reminder to all of us – if you’re concerned, then the answer is most likely “yes”, and it’s better not to ask.

There you have them; I must admit I enjoyed perusing for funny baby onesie sayings. This list was harder to compile than I thought due to the fact that some onesies are funnier than others depending on the personality of the baby and the viewer. Next time you see a funny baby onesie saying, start compiling your own list to save for later laughs.

Kimberlie is a mother, author, and baby clothes guru. Come find out all about baby onesies at her blog:http://www.babyonesies1.com

What Size Down Comforter Is Right For Me?

Down bedding, specifically down comforters are the platinum standards in sleep luxury. They combine silky soft down enveloped with crisp cotton keeping you in a cloud of comfort. Down comforters come in many styles and sizes and with all the technical attributes can sometimes be a difficult product to buy.

The main ingredient of a down comforter is the down filling. Down can come from ducks or geese and be grey or white. Many consumers confuse down and feathers together but they are really different. Down provides softness and warmth – great for comforters and blankets. Feathers provide support – great for featherbeds, pillow forms and some types of pillows.

The first step in buying down bedding is to know what size you need and from there the other details can be settled down (fill type, fill power, weight, fabric choice). You would think its pretty straight forward to buy the right size comforter for your bed. After all if you have a queen size bed then you would buy the queen size down comforter – right? Well that’s kind of true although you may wish to upgrade the size and get a bigger size comforter to provide better bed coverage and prevent nightly tug of war with a sleeping partner.

The main issue to know about regarding sizes is to make sure that if you are using a duvet cover on the down comforter then the size of the comforter should be preferably a bit larger than the duvet but could range plus or minus two inches for maximum fit. Most duvets are made of cotton and they will shrink – so if your duvet is 92 x 92 and your comforter is 90 x 90 that is okay. Duvets are washed just like your sheet set – so the frequent washings will keep your duvet decreasing in size by a couple inches the first few times.

You will want to take great care and know your comforter and duvet measurements assuming you are using a duvet. Duvets are optional and about 25% of consumers cover their down comforters with easy care machine washable duvet cover protectors. The benefit of the duvet is that you can remove it from the duvet and wash and dry it on demand just like your sheet sets. Most down comforters covered with a duvet are washed about once a year with some occasional setting out in the sun on dry, low humidity days.

Because we recommend larger size comforters for comfort we would suggest the following size chart for consideration:

  • Twin Bed – Upgrade to a Twin XL like 68 x 90 or 68 x 92
  • Full Bed – Upgrade to a Full/Queen like 90 x 90 up to 90 x 98
  • Queen Bed – Upgrade to an Oversized King like 108 x 98
  • King Bed – Upgrade to a Super King like 116 x 198

A comforter is a key part of your bed, so make sure you get one that you absolutely love. Afterall, it is going to be with you night in and night out.

To learn more about buying the right size down comforter visit ShopDownLite.com.

Can A Featherbed Be Hypoallergenic?

The oversimplified answer to the question “Can a featherbed be hypoallergenic?” is “yes”. According to Encarta, the word hypoallergenic means that a product is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. For anyone with allergies related to down or feathers the term hypoallergenic is of extreme importance if they would like to sleep on a feather bed. A person with these types of allergies will definitely require the hypoallergenic designation on any featherbed they consider.

Each major featherbed manufacturer has a process name for cleaning the down and feathers to enable the label “hypoallergenic” to be applied to the featherbed. One company refers to their hypoallergenic feather bedding as RestAssured®.

While this it is all fine and nice to be designated as hypoallergenic, what does it take to get that type of designation? The American Down and Feather Council (ADFC) is a voluntary group of natural fill bedding manufacturers, processors and dealers. It is their goal to further the interests of the industry while maintaining and improving the quality of their products. It is the goal of their Labeling Compliance Program to make certain that all bedding products with natural fill are correctly labeled. In addition, the quality of the bedding products must meet or exceed the description claims on the package or label. The exact industry standard that must be met to be termed hypoallergenic is an oxygen number not exceeding 4.8 and a turbidity level of greater than 500mm. The oxygen number indicates cleanliness of the down and feather with the cleanest numbers being between1.6-3.2. Turbidity measures how much dust or dirt is present in the feathers after cleaning. The higher the # the less dirt is present.

Featherbeds can be truly hypoallergenic. If you have allergies to feather and down, you do not have to do without the comfort of a featherbed. Look for the hypoallergenic designation, an ADFC seal of approval and at least a 30 day money back guarantee when you select your featherbed. Then, lie back and enjoy the best night’s sleep you have had in years.

If you are still concerned about hypoallergenic featherbeds you can always consider a fiberbed. A fiberbed is similar to a featherbed but it contains polyester. Almost all fiberbeds are hypoallergenic by nature.

To stay hypoallergenic it is important to make use of featherbed protectors and possibly a stain or water resistant mattress pad placed on top to keep moisture away from the featherbed and reduce any allergen build up once the item is at home on your bed. Even the smallest feather bed is too big to wash in the laundry, especially at home. So prevention of accidents is key to keeping your feather bed investment in sound condition.

Some companies market a dust mite resistant cover for bedding and generally they feel stiff to the touch and can feel clammy because of the polyester blend fabric. In general a feather bed protector is a great investment and will go a long ways in making it last longer as well.

To learn more about hypoallergenic featherbeds you can buy direct from the manufacturer at ShopDownLite.com.

Grow Yyour Own Hydroponics Christmas Tree

Christmas season has arrived and when we talk about Christmas, first thing that comes to our mind is Christmas tree. Since 1850, Christmas trees are sold commercially in US and the best selling trees are Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Fraser fir, Virginia pine, balsam fir, and white pine.

Growing Christmas trees provides a habitat for wildlife. It can be grown in all parts of the area, but it grows better in some places than the others. This species require place with good air drainage and some preferred soil types. Rosemary herbs can be grown as houseplant christmas tree for gifiting purpose using soil method or in hydroponics.

Many of the conifer species grown for Christmas trees grow satisfactorily on a wide variety of soil types. It requires well drained soil types. Pines generally adapt to sandy or sandy loam soils while spruces and firs (including Douglas fir) will grow best on fine-textured loams and clay loams.

Some species will perform equally well on both type of soil as long as it gets sufficient fertility and moisture. Christmas tree plantations will not be profitable on low-lying soils where poor surface and internal drainage is present.
Unlike the other trees, which are valuable for wood, Christmas trees are valued largely by overall appearance, which consist its reflection of shape, foliage density, tree fullness, needle color, and uniformity.

Christmas trees can be easily affected by insects or disease problems. At sometimes, it can be difficult to diagnose and control. Even minor infestations can be destructive.

Christmas trees take an average of 7-10 years to mature. The actual time of growth will be influenced by soil type, management practices including shearing procedures and genetic characteristics related to the origin of the seed. Christmas tree grows slightly faster in the southern portion of the state than those growing in northern locations. Christmas trees remove dust and pollen from the air. Recycled trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter. In the first week, a tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.

You can grow your own Christmas tree indoors using hydroponics for gifting purpose or to decorate your own home. Grow the plant hydroponically into a shaped, woody plant with fragrant, evergreen needle-like leaves. Rosemary requires little care and it does well in hydroponics. Trim lightly with tinsel and miniature ornaments and lights. This rosemary Christmas tree will work well in hydroponics setting with limited space and you can use it as a centerpiece on a large dining table.

Rosemary is a delicious aromatic herb that makes a beautiful ornamental plant as well as welcome culinary seasoning.

Hopseed Bush, Brush Cherry and Italian Cypress Dependable Drought Tol

Many people are rediscovering the joys of staying home. Gardens are perfect places to unwind from the day. Screen plants can provide privacy in your garden, hide an unsightly area and provide shade. Hopseed Bush, Brush Cherry and Italian Cypress are three shrubs or small trees that are useful for screens, grow fast or are drought tolerant. Some plants have all three qualities!

When creating your backyard paradise these screening shrubs can also help create ‘walls’ to establish separate sections in a garden, so you can create different ‘garden rooms’ in your yard. Two of these are also good for planting in narrow spaces between houses to help block out the world. Try these versatile plants in your Patch of Heaven:

Hopseed Bush (Dodonaea viscosa)
USDA Zone: 9-11
Sunset Zone: 7-24
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Moderate to low, drought tolerant

Hop Seed bushes come with leaves in either bright, lime green or dark purple. Both versions have leaves about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide and are very shiny on multiple shrubby branches. These drought tolerant shrubs are fast growers to about 10 feet tall and almost as wide. They take full sun to part shade. Once established in the garden (1-2 years) they can survive on rainfall alone.

Hopseed bushes have a growth habit that is a bit airy, with lots of small branches and the long leaves add to the lacy feel. They can be trimmed as hedges or espaliers for a slightly denser effect. These are good for layering to create a full, lush feel in the border. They are perfect for the back of the bed (where the sprinkler won’t reach), along fences or as border screens. In late spring they develop large, papery seed pods, usually light brown, which hang on for weeks and provide a dramatic effect. Although the seed pods break down quickly in the soil, I do not recommend planting these bushes near pools.

Brush Cherry, Carolina Laurel Cherry (Prunus caroliniana)
USDA Zone: 7 – 9
Sunset Zone: 5 – 24
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Moderate to low

Brush Cherry is another dependable, versatile garden shrub for quick screens and hedges. These shrubs can grow up to 30 feet tall and 10 – 12 feet wide. Although I have seen mature stands of Carolina Laurel grow even taller. They can grow in full sun to part shade. Once established they can survive drought conditions. However, in desert areas they prefer less sun and will appreciate more water during the hottest summer weather.

Brush Cherries have a dense growth habit with lots of branches so they take well to heaving shearing as a hedge and can even be used for topiaries. Left untrimmed, they will still maintain their neat, shrubby shape, but the interior growth will not have leaves. They can also be trained as small multi-trunk trees. New growth is a pretty reddish rusty color in the spring. They get sprays of white flowers followed by clusters of small, bright red cherries. The cherries can stain concrete and make a mess. If you don’t have enough birds in your area to take care of the cherries for you, just trim off the flowers before they set. This will also relieve the plant of the stress of producing seeds.

Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
USDA Zone: 7 – 9
Sunset Zone: 4 – 24
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Moderate to low, drought tolerant

Italian Cypress trees are a familiar staple in the city, growing along border lines as tall screens. They grow up to 60 feet high on single trunks and are generally 1-2 feet wide but mature plants can be much wider. All cypresses prefer full sun, but will tolerate part shade and can survive on little water once they are established in a year or two.

Italian cypress are perfect shrubs for problem areas. They grow tall but they’re thin, so you can tuck them into narrow spaces. Their trunks will eventually reach about 12 inches around, so your narrow bed should at least be that wide. Their growth habit is sleek and cylindrical, with most of their leaves pointing up. They lose a small amount of needles during they year, but litter is not a big problem with these trees. They do not grow very fast the first year, but they will make up for their lack of growth in the second year. Continually trimming the tops will result in a slightly fatter shrub, but they are fairly care free, needing no trimming.

When you are planning on having your shrubs survive on rainfall, it is best to encourage deep root development early on by soaking your plants every few days instead of sprinkling the topsoil every night. Even established plants appreciate a deep soak during a heat wave, when the weather has been over 100 degrees, or when it has been especially dry and windy.

All three of these plants are growing happily in my heavy clay, alkaline soil in hot and sunny Southern California. Good luck and happy gardening!

Laura Zinkan is a freelance writer who cultivates a gardening website at http://www.theGardenPages.com with plant profiles, growing tips and lore about succulents and California native plants. You can share her unique vision of Los Angeles and California at her regional web site http://www.AngelCityArt.com Copyright 2007 by Laura Zinkan (LauraZinkan.com). This article may be reprinted as long as author credit is given with website. All rights reserved.

Time – A Fathers Most Precious Gift

Most parents desire a strong, life-long bond with their children. Too often, fathers don’t understand that strong bonds begin before birth. In fact, many fathers do not interact on any consistent level with their baby until the child can walk and talk. Fathers need to understand that the first couple years of a child’s life is critical to bonding well. In these years a baby is learning at a rate of speed that makes most adults’ head spin.

Many studies show that mothers are no more “bonded” with their baby at birth than the father. Yes, Mom has carried the baby for forty weeks, but once the baby enters this world, Mom and Dad begin on the same foot, at the same level. Way too often, men take a back seat to interaction with their children for the first two years. This is one of the biggest mistakes a father can make.

Another is to rely on the fact that your love, as a father, will carry the bonding aspect of life forward into the baby’s teenage and adult years. There is only one thing that will bond a father to his child, and it is not love. It is time.

I’m not saying you don’t need love, but if you don’t take the time to convey the love, your child will never know your love. Fathers have been distant for too many generations. If you want your child to grow up and lean on you for advice and support, invest the time now before she is born. Go to Mom’s doctor appointments. Go to Lamaze classes. Learn about your baby and what Mom is going through. Connect with your baby through Mom. Be there when she’s born. Cut her umbilical cord through your tears of amazement at the miracle of birth.

Be there to hold your baby in the first minutes, days, weeks, months years and decades of her life. Give her your time as she grows and learns about life on this crazy planet. Read to her, sing to her, dance with her, teach her sign language (while you learn yourself). Sacrifice some of your time to bond with someone that will love you forever for your effort.

With all that was mentioned in that last paragraph, none of it will happen without you freely giving your time. Get away from our society’s mantra that says selfishness is the standard of the day. Give your time. Give it from your heart. Don’t just tell your baby you love her, show her. There is no substitute for your time. No card, no purchase, no apology will carry the day when you find a teenager you don’t know standing before you. What you invest early in her life will manifest itself in a close or distant relationship later in her life.

I believe most fathers desire a strong relationship with their children. Many don’t have a clue though, how to get there. The crazy thing is, the answer is not difficult. Just spend time with your baby. Begin before she is born. Continue EVERYDAY for the rest of her life. Your responsibility for your child does not end at eighteen. In fact, I have found that once your baby is out on her own, you are just as critical in her life as you were in that delivery room. That kind of relationship is built day by day, minute by minute from the very beginning of her existence. Give your time and your love will be known on a level you could never hope to achieve through any other means. Time – it is by far your most precious gift to your baby. Give it freely and give it often.

Michael Ray King http://www.michaelrayking.com

I am the father of six wonderful children, ages 2, 9, 11, 13, 21 and 26. With four girls and two boys, I’ve seen, heard and learned quite a bit. My first book, “Fatherhood 101: Bonding Tips for Building Loving Relationships” was published June, 2008. The book covers the critical bonding years of pre-birth through toddler. To get your copy, go to http://www.clearviewpressinc.com or look it up on Amazon.com

Organizing Craft Supplies Creative Tips on How to Manage Your Craft C

If you happen to be like me and love making crafts, then you may find yourself with a drawer full of little craft supplies, with no organization. Things like ribbons, loose beads, jewelry findings, glue sticks, sequins, and scraps of decorative paper are things that can be hard to find a place for. A lot of craft supplies, like beads, come in tiny plastic bags that are stapled at the top. Once you open them, they are hard to keep closed again and things can fall out and get lost.

Not only can things get lost, but everything can become disorganized very quickly. When you sit down to do a craft project again, you may lack motivation since you can’t find anything, or waste a lot of time looking for supplies. If this sounds like you, then read on because I would like to share with you some helpful tips on organizing your craft supplies.

The first thing you need to do if you haven’t done so already is to designate a craft place to keep everything. The size of this space depends on how much you have. Perhaps a drawer in a dresser is enough room, or for those with larger collections you may need to designate a closet. Closets are wonderful spaces in which you can add several shelves within it to stack boxes of craft items. If a closet is unavailable, consider buying a dresser or bookshelf that will only be dedicated to storing your craft supplies.

Once you have your location, you will want to organize your supplies into different boxes. At home I use the clear plastic shoe boxes with removable lids, so that I can see the contents inside. Divide your craft supplies into categories. Using some labeling tape (or make some labels on your computer), clearly mark what is inside each shoe box. Here are examples of the boxes I have labeled in my own craft closet: ribbons and cords, glues and varnishes, paints, jewelry making items, felt and foam board, pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, hot glue gun and glue sticks, tissue paper and decoupage paper. . . and so on. Some items may need a different size box. For example, I use a shirt box for my felt and foam board pieces.

Paintbrushes and pipe cleaners can be stored in an empty coffee can or chip can. I keep all my scrap booking papers and templates in a portable hanging folder case. My scrap booking glue, scissors, markers, and stamps all fit nicely in a craft supply box (which resembles a fishing tackle box). I choose to have these items together and in portable since I don’t always scrapbook at home.

Small jars are perfect for keeping tiny craft items. Begin keeping your eyes open and saving all small jars when you finish with them in the kitchen. Baby food jars are great, but other condiments come in perfect size jars too. I’ve kept some small jars from gourmet mustard, sun dried tomatoes, and capers! These jars can keep safety pins, sequins, seed beads, jewelry findings, or anything small. The jars can then be stored within a shoe box. For easy finding, label the top of the jar lid with what is inside. I even tape the item to the lid (such as the sequin, or the safety pin) so I know exactly what is inside by just opening the box and looking at my jar lids. Craft stores also sell organizational supplies for your small items. The plastic compartmentalized boxes are great for storing beads.

Getting organized helps you by saving time when you do your next craft. You will know exactly what supplies you have on hand and when you are getting low on something. Plus your craft area will look great!

Karen Hunady is from Cleveland, Ohio and has enjoyed crafting her entire life. She created a craft website that has free craft projects for every season of the year. Each project has step by step instructions with lots of photos to help along the way. Please drop by for a visit at http://www.crafts-for-all-seasons.com

Glow Paint – The Do -It -Yourself Method

For a person who likes to have almost anything homemade, this simple procedure of making glow paint can add to his list of how-to-do things. With this process, anyone can design projects, do crafting and artwork, paint walls, or paint on t-shirts. There are many other possible things you can do when you mix your own glow paint. To start, you will need glow in the dark powder, clear paint medium, spatula and a mixing bowl. Use spatula and mixing bowl that are non-metal.

The following are the three simple steps to make a glow paint:

  • In a bowl, pour the clear paint medium followed by the glow in the dark powder, mixing the two very well. Use only half of powder and half of the paint medium. Avoid using color paint so as not to dampen the luminosity and dim the glow.

  • Paint a white background on the place where you intend to do the painting

  • Use the paint within an hour or as soon as the mixture is done, because the glow in the dark powder settles down on the base of the mixture and losses its brilliance. It will be better if someone else can continue stirring the mixture while you are working on your project.

  • Any unused paint should be thrown away and do not let your children play with it.

  • Using homemade glow paint can put a special effect to your projects like childrens Halloween costumes, bedroom walls and give away items. The homemade glow paint may not be as perfect as the commercial paints bought from stores, but the self satisfaction you get out of doing it on your own is already enough. You can also introduce this process to your friends and your group can do your homemade glow paint during your spare time, thereby promoting friendship and camaraderie.

    You can apply homemade glow paints to your body, but to be on the safe side, you are advised not to do it. People have different reactions to chemicals and it may be possible that you can experience skin problems when the chemicals got to your skin.

    http://www.coolglow.com

    Grandparents Day: A Day to Honor, Love, and Recognize

    In 1978, Grandparents Day was officially established as a national holiday to be observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day. Marion McQuade, a West Virginia housewife, is considered to be the founder of the day. Ms. McQuade initiated the campaign to set aside a day to honor grandparents in 1970.

    Ms. McQuade enlisted the assistance of civic, church, and political leaders to bring the holiday to fruition. In 1973 the then Governor of West Virginia, Arch Moore, proclaimed that Grandparents Day was a state holiday.

    Also in 1973 the concept of Grandparents Day was introduced to the U. S. Senate by West Virginia Senator Jennings Randolph. The resolution to proclaim a national holiday didn’t have as much support nationally as it had received at the state level and the resolution stalled in committee. Ms. McQuade again rallied her support team and they began contacting representatives from every state in the union to gain support for the resolution making Grandparents Day a national holiday. In 1978, the U. S.

    Congress finally passed the resolution. The proclamation was signed by then President Jimmy Carter.

    Of interest, is the reason the month of September was selected to house the holiday. It was felt that the month of September, which was considered to be the beginning of the fall season was appropriate because it was significant of the “autumn years” of life.

    A time, seen by many as the period of life when people relish in the joys of grandparenting. The purposes noted in the resolution regarding Grandparents Day were to: 1) honor grandparents, 2) give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their families, and 3) to help children and society become aware of the strength, information, and guidance that older people, particularly grandparents, can offer. Grandparents Day offers a unique time to learn not only about family history, but to foster and encourage an appreciation for the perspective that experience and age can offer the generations to follow.

    Mrs.

    Party. . . Gail Leino is the internet’s leading authority on selecting the best possible party supplies (http://partysupplieshut.com
    ), using proper etiquette and manners while also teaching organizational skills and fun facts. The Party Supplies Hut has a huge selection of free party games, coloring pages, word find, word scramble, printable baby and bridal shower activities.

    Holiday Party Decorations (Holiday-Party-Decorations.com), free games, menus, recipes, coloring sheets, theme ideas, and activities to help complete your event.

    Quick and Easy Party Food, Appetizers and Meals on Skewers Including

    Thinking about having friends over for a casual, fun get-together? Here are some quick, easy, and surprisingly substantial party foods that are simple to prepare and perfect for entertaining during the summer, or any time of year.

    SECRET TO SIMPLICITY

    The key to easy, any-time entertaining: Have-on-hand food and easy-serve items. For example, whenever you grill or poach chicken, be sure to cook extra, wrap it securely and stash it in the freezer. The same goes for shrimp. (You can, of course, buy frozen cooked or uncooked shrimp to keep for impromptu entertaining. )

    Also, keep a supply of 6-inch wooden skewers on hand, or buy decorative toothpicks for fancier presentations.

    At party time, use what’s in the freezer or pick up what you need at the supermarket.

    Party preparation consists of alternating meats, cheeses, and fruits or vegetables on skewers. Then place similar skewers on serving platters. Or for a more artistic presentation, stick the skewers or toothpicks into a pretty whole eggplant, melon, or several large grapefruits from which you’ve cut a small slice at the bottom, for stability.

    Drizzle each skewer with the suggested bottled salad dressings, or dressings made from your own favorite recipes, and place dressings in pretty bowls for dipping. Have plenty of cocktail napkins on hand so there won’t be any mess.

    What could be easier? Here are some simple and colorful party food-on-a-skewer combinations:

    Melon and Prosciutto: For each skewer, wrap a small strip of prosciutto around a cantaloupe or honeydew ball or chunk. Then pierce it with a skewer. A nice option: Add a piece of mozzarella to the end. For dressing, use red wine or balsamic vinaigrette.

    Tropical Chicken Bites: Thread cubes of chicken and mango, plus orange segments and avocado slices on each skewer. Use a lemon-based dressing or mild vinaigrette. (Note: Be sure to dip avocado slices in lemon juice to keep their pretty green color. )

    Asian Shrimp and Fruit: On each skewer, put a combination of cooked shrimp, pear wedges, and seedless grapes. Serve with ginger or sesame dressing.

    Salad on a Skewer: Put cherry tomatoes, squares of red or green pepper, cucumber slices, and broccoli florets on skewers. Drizzle with Italian or vinaigrette dressing.

    Tomato-Mozzarella Antipasto: Thread cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and basil leaves on each skewer. Oil and vinegar, Italian dressing, or any vinaigrette will add the spicy tang that makes it perfect.

    Cheese and Artichoke Bites: Stack cubes of Asiago cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated sun-dried tomatoes, and possibly sliced prosciutto on each skewer.

    Chicken-Pina: Thread cubed cooked chicken, plus fresh pineapple and mango chunks on each skewer. Brush or serve with Dijon or poppy seed dressing.

    Mango Thai-Shrimp: Skewer cooked shrimp and cubed mango or orange segments. Sprinkle with a dash of chili powder and squeeze fresh lime juice or drizzle lime-flavored dressing over the top.

    Classic Cheese Cubes: Alternate cubes of cheddar cheese, sliced apple, and/or pear wedges on each skewer. (Dip fruit slices in lemon juice to prevent discoloration. )

    Smoked Salmon Bites: Spread cream cheese on a slice of cucumber and top it with a slice of smoked salmon and end with a cherry tomato.

    Carole Jace is a writer for the popular site, CelebratewithStyle.com
    . The site features advice on planning a party for family members and friends, as well as holiday, business, social, and fundraising events. It offers ideas and advice from experts on food for parties
    , stylish decor, dress-up fashion, and beauty. It also provides great tips for planning a party for kids, teen events, and wedding-related festivities.