As we head into a long holiday weekend, I think about my favorite family gatherings and how to recreate those feelings and memories.
Summertime family gatherings have a special layer of memory for me, a tactile one. The sticky feeling of a popsicle melting down your hand as you try to gobble it up before it is completely melted. The tightness of your skin when it has been kissed after a long day playing in the sunshine.
Today I am sharing some of my top summertime entertaining tips and tricks to help you create memorable gatherings with your family and friends.
Tips for Family Gatherings and Gatherings with Friends
Creating lasting memories is always one of my goals. I want my friends and family who gather at our home to have lasting memories.
Whether the memories linger around the company, the food, or the laughter shared, creating a feeling that is remembered is important to me.
I have put together some tried and true tips and some new tips that I think will make for memorable family gatherings and gatherings with friends.
When the temperatures soar, there is nothing more refreshing than applying chilled sunscreen. I keep mine in the refrigerator and when we have a gathering around the pool or on the beach, I pop it into a cooler bag with ice.
The sun can be so hot, so having chilled sunscreen makes reapplication a lovely way to cool off a bit while also steering clear of a sunburn. Reapplication is what always slips my mind, so having chilled sunscreen makes it easy to remember to reapply. Little ones love the feeling of chilled sunscreen, happy to have sunscreen reapplied because it cools their body temperature.
As my dermatologist says, unless the sun has gone down, you need to be wearing sunscreen!
Keep the Bugs at Bay with Lavender
Bugs are something that we haven’t had to deal with much in California until recently. In the past few years, the mosquitos have been terrible and we’ve had a ton of them! In the past, I have used citronella candles and bug spray, but while in France this summer, I learned that lavender is a natural bug repellant. I am excited to try this new method. Have any of you used it with success?
The French explained that if you add a healthy dose of lavender essential oil to a small amount of water, mix it together and then place the lavender oil and water mixture in saucers where your guests will be sitting.
I plan to float some lavender in the mixture just to make it pretty and the scent will be lovely, bringing back memories of wandering in the lavender fields. I am excited to give this a try!
Be Creative with Ice Cubes
When the temperatures soar, ice is a critical component for keeping drinks cool, but that doesn’t mean your ice cubes have to be boring. I have recently discovered some really fun ice cube trays and ways to use them that are so much fun!
How much fun is it to freeze fruit into ice cubes and to freeze them in fun shapes? I also love the idea of freezing lemonade or fruit juice so that as it melts into your drink, your drink is not diluted by water. I also found ice cube trays for popping an ice stick into a water bottle, perfect for day campers, a hike or just to keep your water bottle cold!
Regardless of age, how much fun is it to find a giant ice ball in your glass? In our family, it will probably be used in a game of some sort, and that is OK too! Memories, right? Click here for ice cube ideas!
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Streamline Your Menu – Keep It Easy
I love to cook, so I sometimes go overboard with menu planning. In the summertime, people generally eat less, so I try to eliminate the starches and serve more proteins and vegetables/salads.
Sauces, however, are a whole other category in the summer. I love to sauce everything up for big bold flavors, especially when grilling. Click here for some of my favorite compound butter recipes which are amazing on chicken, beef, fish, bread, I will stop short of saying spoon. Hahaha!
Click here for one of my favorite sauce recipes. Just like the compound butters, this sauce is amazing to grill with. Trust me, these are all crowd favorites and memorable!
There is nothing more refreshing than a citrus-flavored dessert on a hot summer evening. I know I am biased, but my Meyer Lemon Cream Pie is the perfect summer dessert and it is sooooo easy to make. You don’t have to make the candied lemon peel to garnish the top if that seems daunting, the pie alone is simply magnificent! I promise you, people will remember that you made this pie!
I know I am late to this game, but when we were in France, I learned why everyone loves Rosé so much! It is light and crisp and perfect for summertime. And don’t even get me started about how pretty it is! Rosé will forever hold the memories of my summer trip to Provence!
I hope that you all have an amazing long holiday weekend and create some fun memories along the way! Let me know if you try any of my tips for family gatherings! I will be posting all weekend so be sure to check your email!
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Happy 4th Leslie! Hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend.
You too Linda! 😊
After a full wedding season, I am ready to entertain family at home around the pool and lake…so your post was perfect. Loved your ideas of keeping sunscreen in the fridge and lavender water on the tables. Thank you for sharing these great ideas!
Thank you Alda for reaching out. The refrigerated sunscreen is a game changer! Let me know what your experience is. Have a wonderful weekend around the pool and lake!
What a beautiful family! We are staying home for the long weekend and I am preparing for hip replacement surgery on the 6th. Happy Fourth!!
Kathleen, I had hip replacement surgery 6 months ago, the whole experience turned out to be much easier than I anticipated. Only PT is to walk and walk daily.
Cindy, that is great to hear! You must have had the anterior approach, that is what I am having as well. Much easier recovery is what I have heard. Thank you for your encouragement!