Monday, 15 July 2013

Hospitality: Summer Cook Out

Judy is back with some super ideas for fun evenings with friends.

Hey y’all! I’m back to share a couple of fun ways you can get together with friends and family and extend a little hospitality and love during the summer months.
Remember, my ‘rules’:

  • I like to keep it simple.
  • I like whimsy.
  • I like time with my friends, and
  • I like for others to feel ‘at home’ when they visit us.

This month I want to share a recent Concert in the Park / picnic we had with friends, as well as a family fish fry – Both are fun Summer time activities –

First off – Concert in the Park

Our local Art League sponsors these free events weekly – all summer long. We usually try to get together with friends for at least a couple of them. First I texted everyone to see who could make it on the chosen night [gotta love modern technology!] and what they wanted to contribute to our picnic, then I made some quick and easy reminder cards to hang on the fridge – [I used some blank invites I’d picked up at a discount store a few years ago --]

What I did to Prepare: We gathered up our folding tables and picnic basket [almost always stocked with plastic table coverings, candles, and plastic-ware.] We also bought a couple of balloons to mark our spot. We also filled a cooler with water and soda…

Welcome: We got to the park early and set up two tables and lit the candles…

Menu: This was another very simple gathering – we made baked spaghetti and the others brought salad, bread, and dessert. Yum. Everyone brought their own drinks and lawn chairs.

Table / Centerpiece: The tables were pretty simple and held the food to serve from.

Game / Ice Breaker: No game or ice/breaker for this event since it was just good friends getting together to visit, catch-up and enjoy some beach music [yes! The bands the week were there were so fun!]

Photo Op: We asked a sweet by-stander to snap a photo of us to remember the evening – and that was that. - A great evening of just ‘being’ together. Always fun with this group of friends that have known each other for over 20 [dare I say, 25?] years…

A couple of weeks later we had our Family Fish Fry

If you know me or follow my blog at all then you know that my sweet husband is a GREAT fisherman – truly we have a freezer full of crappie, a freshwater fish that he catches almost daily during ‘the season.’ It’s been far too long since my family got together to JUST VISIT, so, again, I texted / talked and settled on a date when all come make it to our house for the day [we live at least two hours apart] – Then I sent out little reminder cards for the fridge. 

What I did to Prepare: I won’t lie – the back yard / patio area needed some sprucing up – [remember one of the reason we like to entertain is to make ourselves finish up some projects – lol] So a few weeks beforehand we got to it and cleaned things up – put down mulch in the flowerbeds, finished up the little deck for hubs’ outside fish cleaning station / aka sink [I use it for gardening too!] I also prepped / made food ahead, and hung a cute garland on the patio cover… we’d already outfitted the candelabra with solar lights.

Welcome: We had candy sushi [rice krispie treats / Swedish fish / fruit roll ups,] s’mores baskets, and a bubble station to welcome everyone – and had some yummy Capri skewers for starters. Delish. [Gotta love our little table made out of buckets – ha.]

Menu: This was another very simple gathering – we had the tomato –mozzarella skewers, salad, fish and hushpuppies. For desert we had frozen banana pudding cups [and a real banana pudding trifle – a favorite in our family – Quick recipe: Make sugar free pudding add half a tub of cool whip, layer in bowl with ‘nilla wafers and bananas – cover with the rest of the cool whip. Everyone also enjoyed s’mores later on when we gathered ‘round the firepit.

Table / Centerpiece: I had planned to eat outside, but it was close to 90* outside so we opted to eat inside at the dining room table – I set up a card table for the overflow – we’ve done this before so I had matching tablecloths.

Game / Ice Breaker: I cut out little fish and put them on poles and gathered them in a jar. Each fish had a question about your first fish, funny fish memories, or campfire tales.

Photo Op: Between us we took a ton of photos – and we also set up the tri-pod to get a group photo – love that my sister-in-law’s camera will take multiple photos at one time – we had fun playing tilt-a-head for it so that we could get some fun ones.  

So that’s it – a couple of fun ways to gather with friends and family and extend some hospitality – Have fun this summer!

Thank you so much Judy.  I feel that in the UK we might have to have one of those hosepipe ban summers to be able to do this.

If you do something fun with friends this summer do share it with us.