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Hosting Family Gatherings & Summer Cookouts

Posted in Main Blog
May 22, 2015 by Jenn R. Share on: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

One of my favorite parts about the warm weather months is hosting family gatherings and cookouts with friends. Summer presents several holidays and weekends for some real fun. Outlined below are some tips to prepare you for your next family gathering or cookout.

Remember to invite your guests with enough notice to RSVP. This helps to prepare for the number of people you will be hosting.

Clean Ahead of Time

When you’re hosting guests, no one likes a messy house! Clean any areas you will be using to entertain (let the other areas take a lazy day off).

  • Return clutter to its proper place
  • Wash down surfaces (especially in the kitchen & bathrooms)
  • Vacuum or mop floors
  • Mow the lawn and trim the weeds (treat for mosquitos and other pests at least a few hours in advance, if necessary.)
  • Clean the pool

Forbes has outlined “8 Stress Busting Tips for Hosting Small Gatherings”. These include some great quick clean up tips, and some advice for planning your meal. They also provide small, budget-friendly ways to add decoration to your party.

Purchase the Food in Advance

If you’re hosting your gathering for a special holiday or weekend, chances are the grocery stores will be busy. Make a grocery list so you do not forget anything. Set a budget so you don’t overspend on the things you don’t need or that will go to waste.

Forbes recommends considering your guests and what their dietary needs are. If any guests are vegetarians, offer a vegetarian option. If possible, I like to visit a local farm stand to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Be mindful of guests with food allergies as well.

When hosting your party outside, be sure to buy drinks that can easily be stored in a cooler. Don’t forget to buy plenty of ice to keep things cool in the heat. Consider setting out appetizers and finger food for guests to enjoy before the entrée is finished. Remember, they may also need to be kept chilled or out of the sun.

If you’re having trouble deciding the menu for your party, check out the Food Network’s “Grilling Central” to see “Cookout Sides and Salads”. Test the grill a few days before and check to make certain you have enough gas (or charcoal) necessary to cook with. If not, add that to your list!

Plan Activities to Entertain

Conversation is great, but it’s nice to have something to keep your guests busy at the party. Lawn games are fun for all ages, and can keep your guests entertained for hours. When I host an outdoor party my favorites include:

  • Corn Hole
  • Basketball
  • Bocce Ball
  • Swimming

Depending on the size of your yard, or the activities you have at home this list may be different for you. provides an entire list of outdoor games and activities including horseshoes, volleyball, a treasure hunt, and more.

Of course, remember to have a backup plan in case rain is in the forecast. Tents are a great way to stay dry, while still hosting your guests outside as planned. Once you host a few family gatherings you’ll establish a routine. With graduation season in full swing and The 4th of July right around the corner, you'll be a pro at hosting in no time!


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