Chronic Illness Articles

July 10, 2009

7 Outdoor BBQ Planning Ideas When You Are Ill or Tired

The grill saga
Image by kristiewells via Flickr

Whether you plan to serve steaks or hot dogs, having friends over for an evening of fun in your backyard doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just because you may have a chronic illness doesn’t mean you have to stop entertaining. Here are seven quick tips to entertaining outside without the fuss.

It’s fun to look at magazines that have perfect patios all prepared to entertain guests, but go easy on your self! Here are 7 quick ways to have a fun backyard BBQ bash.

[1] Invite your guests with an emailed invitation service online. It’s fast, you can send it out to everyone in minutes and they can respond immediately. They can leave a comment or see who else is coming. Another perk is that you can list any item that would be helpful for other people to bring and when they RSVP they can choose one or more. It doesn’t have to be just food either; it can be yard games (remember lawn darts?); extra chairs, special music on an ipod, or even paper plates.

[2] To clean up, focus on the outside. You can avoid people trekking through the front door if you put up solar-powered tiki torches and some twinkle lights, making a festive path along side the house. Toss any of your junk piles in the house to the back bedroom, spiffy up the kitchen and wipe down everything in the bathroom. Put out room fragrances that scent your house to smell like the beach, dim the lights and turn on a bunch of battery-powered tea lights. They are festive, but you don’t have to worry about flames anywhere.

[3] Bring the inside out. Pull out blankets, pillows, lamps with extension cords, and table cloths to make your deck or patio comforting. If you can do it easily, choose a theme.

[4] For food, decide what foods you could buy pre-made and then make them personalized. For example you can buy bulk potato salad or baked beans. Add chopped up celery, boiled eggs, and then sprinkle paprika on your potato salad. Add big pieces of bacon to your baked beans. For your meat, choose something simple where everyone doesn’t have to have it cooked their way. Ask a spouse or friend to grill, or grill in advance and warm it up on the grill at the end. You can also have an item like salmon. Wrap it in foil with herbs and oils and steam on the grill. Use some smoke-flavored wood chips to keep everyone drooling from the scent.

[5] Use paper plates and utensils. There are lots of bright colors at the dollar stores that will match your theme.

[6] Locate a teenager who wants to make $10 and let her be in charge of all the childrens entertainment. Set up the kids table and let them do some of their own activities, like making home-made ice cream and then having a toppings bar to choose from. Turn on the sprinkler or let them make a simple craft like sand art. If someone is feeling adventurous a treasure hunt prepared in advance is sure to be a hit with all ages.

[7] Skip fancy drinks, and provide a variety of sodas (don’t forget root beer and orange cream soda) and sparkling water. Have juice boxes for the kids. Throw a plastic table cloth over a wheel barrow or other bucket, dump in ice and arrange. Sit out a large self-serve container of unsweetened ice tea with some ice cubes pre-made with black berries and mint leaves inside for a fancy effect.

Lastly, don’t forget to sit and have a bit of conversation. Have fun! Don’t attempt to be the perfect hostess that no one sees. Relax and leave the clean up until the next day.

Lisa Copen is the founder of Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week held each year in Sept and featuring a 5-day virtual conference online. Follow II Week on Twitter for cool prizes and info. Blog about invisible illness on your site, be a featured guest blogger, meet others, read articles and lots more. Make a difference!

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