4th of July is almost here! This means BBQ fun for everyone. You know you have a hotdog or two in your near future. Without a doubt after all that grilling and margarita mixing, there will be a pile of dishes with your name on it. Here’s some tips to help keep your BBQ on track, your guests happy, and your house clean and safe during the busy holiday.
Plan Ahead And Keep It Simple
I know you watch the Food Network. And I know that those pulled pork sliders topped with homemade BBQ sauce and coleslaw looked mighty appetizing. But just think about how hectic the morning of your big party is going to be. Don’t go crazy! Make a signature dish (and drink) and keep everything else basic and simple. Plan ahead. Figure out everything you need the week before. Make as many sides as you can before the day of the party. And then maybe you will actually be able to have a conversation or two during the big day.
Don’t Forget About The Kids
It only takes a few arts and crafts supplies, water guns and bubble wands from the Dollar Store to keep a group of little kids happy. Do yourself a favor and create a little kit for each child coming to your house. It will entertain them and give the adults a chance to catch up in peace.
The fact that you may have a handful of kids running around your house on the day of means that you should do a safety check of all rooms to make sure there are no potential hazards. Make sure all cleaning and household products are up and out of the reach of small children.
Mark Those Cups
We started doing this and it has been a lifesaver! Put a marker by the plastic cups and have everyone write their name as they take one. This way it eliminates confusion. Everyone knows which cup is theirs and no one is reaching for a second or third … or fourth! No point in being wasteful!
Clean As You Go
I know you think this doesn’t make much sense. After all, there are guests in your house. But after every course, slide into the kitchen with a few close girlfriends and knock out a few of those dishes. The end-of-the-day pile is NOT cute and it is so much more manageable if you tackle it a little at a time. I’m not telling you to have your girlfriends chip in. Just have them around to chat while you get sudsy! Besides, everything is better with friends, right? When you are finished cleaning the dishes, be sure to lock up your cleaning supplies with a child-proof lock. Never leave anything on the counter. It’s always best to store your cleaning supplies up and out of reach immediately after you are finished using them.
Between the main course and dessert, serve a platter of fruit. It will give the guests something fresh to enjoy and hopefully will satisfy the children’s sweet tooth. This also gives the illusion that something is always happen. Never a dull moment at one of your BBQs!
Wrap It Up And Take It Home
There are always leftovers at my house. I cook for an army. Literally – 10 extra people could show up at one of my parties and I would have enough food to feed them. I over-buy ALWAYS. But we aren’t so great with eating leftovers! Don’t be afraid to whip out those empty take-out containers and let your guests make plates to take home. At least the food will go to good use.
Everything In The Wash Before You Go To Bed
Does your washer have a timer? I’m in love with this feature! At the end of a very messy day, we whip all our clothes off and I pre-load a wash. Then I set my washer for a 6AM start. That way, by the time we are all up and eating breakfast, the clothes are ready to go into the dryer! LOVE IT!
Remember – when you do laundry, it’s critical that you place your detergent, softener and bleach back behind a closed and locked cabinet once you are done using them. Never leave anything out in the open. Children are curious and even a closed bottle of detergent is no challenge for prying fingers.
Visit www.homemadesimple.com/safehome for more important safety tips.
* I am part of the P&G Safe Home blogger program