Making quality time with your family can feel like an uphill battle on those busy weekdays. There’s always sports or music lessons after school and on the weekends and you’re lucky enough if you can make sure your kids do their homework before running out the door, forget actually spending time with them.
Dinner is the traditional time when families can sit down and catch up with each other. The family meal is an essential part of family life and it’s important to make the most of this brief time. But it’s getting harder and harder for families to enjoy mealtimes together. It’s hectic enough getting dinner together on a typical weekday and the kids are half-way out their chairs the minute they sit down.
That’s why simple, easy backyard dinners this summer are a must. Start planning now – the warm weather will be over before you know it. If you have a gazebo or a covered back deck, you’re already half-way to making weekday dinners al fresco a reality. If not, now is a great time to look into a gazebo or patio furniture that can make outdoor dinners (away from the T.V.) enjoyable.
Here are a few easy ideas you can use to make outdoor family dinners as relaxing as they sound.
#1 Don’t be afraid of ready-made dishes. Whether you make them yourself ahead of time or buy them at the store, side dishes like coleslaw, potato salad, or pasta salad will spare you a lot of stress when it’s time to get dinner made. Anything that keeps well can be made in advance.
#2 Keep the clean up simple. Use something disposable like brown craft paper to keep the table clean. It adds a casual finish that you can even use when you have company.
#3 Find shade and shelter in case it starts raining. Umbrellas or a gazebo mean you won’t be scrambling to get the hamburgers back inside if it starts to rain or catch a late-afternoon sunburn while you’re trying to eat.
#4 If you’re worried about bugs getting at your food, keep it safe with a wire mesh colander placed upside down over the plate. It’s an easy hack to keep flies and wasps out of your hair while you’re eating
#5 Citronella candles will help keep the mosquitos from biting if you’re eating around evening. Set them up around the perimeter and eat in peace.
#6 Make the most of your barbecue. No one wants to turn on the oven on those hot summer days. You don’t always have to make burgers and steaks when it’s barbecue season. There are plenty of recipes for vegetable-heavy kebabs that are healthy and grilled.
#7 Start early with heaters or a firepit. If you’ve ever wanted to host Easter dinner in your backyard but you were too worried about the cold, you can find tasteful heaters that will keep everyone warm and cozy while you eat outside.
Eating outdoors is a treat for everyone and it can help slow things down. Spend more quality time with your family by turning your backyard into your new dining room.