Backyard essentials for a summer outdoors
(Family Features) From a leisurely afternoon watching the kids play in the sprinkler to an evening cookout with friends under the stars, it’s the perfect time of year to bask in the comfort and beauty of your own backyard. Take this year’s outdoor enjoyment to a new level with items designed to keep you and your fellow revelers safe and ready for food and fun.
Easy Summer Entertaining
There’s something about summer that makes casual get-togethers great. The menu can be simple, an outdoor setting makes decorating a cinch and the options for entertainment are nearly endless. Put a special touch on your celebrating with these ideas:
• If you find yourself short on seating, create conversation areas using colorful quilts or blankets.
• Add lighting to dim corners with a simple strand of twinkling Christmas lights or take it up a notch with festive strings of lantern-style lights.
• Create a refreshing breeze and help keep pests at bay with fans set on low to circulate the air. For a simple decorative touch, add some streamers that will dance in the wind.
• Thread a variety of fresh fruits on bamboo skewers and insert ends into the rind of an upside-down watermelon half for a pretty and practical centerpiece.
• Greet young guests with small buckets filled with dollar store treasures like sidewalk chalk, jump ropes and water guns to ensure they stay entertained while the adults have some fun of their own.
Savor the Flavors of Summertime
Summer heat has everyone reaching for hot dogs, barbecue and refreshing cocktails. Now, with Barefoot Refresh Spritzers in a lightweight, single-serve can, you can enjoy the flavors of summer where wine glasses and bottles aren’t always welcome – including poolside, beaches, parks and your own backyard. Available in Crisp White and Summer Red varieties, these spritzers are best enjoyed straight from the chilled can, poured over ice or mixed in a cocktail. For more information, visit BarefootWine.com.
Help Your Skin Recover After Too Much Sun
Lose track of time on the beach? Miss that spot applying sunscreen? Sun exposure sneaks up on all of us. That’s why it’s important to have a product such as SunBurnt Advanced After-Sun Gel on hand. It instantly cools, rehydrates and repairs, helping skin recover from getting too much sun. It’s gentle on even the most sensitive skin and combines some of nature’s best healing and hydrating ingredients, plus aloe, in a unique, non-sticky formula. For more information, go to sunburnt.com.
Be Prepared for Burns, Bites and Scrapes
Summer means backyards, beaches and big adventures. Unfortunately, it can also mean bumps, bugs and run-ins with the grill. With First Degree Multi-Symptom Burn Cream, you’re prepared for minor burns, bug bites and scrapes before they strike. It’s 96 percent natural and works on contact to soothe pain and itching, boost healing and help reduce the appearance of scars. Keep First Degree in your first aid kit and keep yourself in the fun. For more information, visit firstdegree.com.
Keep Hot Summer Parties on Ice
On those hot summer days when it’s necessary to have quick access to a cold drink outdoors, keeping a well-stocked cooler on hand is the perfect solution. You can take food and drinks with you to outdoor activities, such as tailgating, camping, parties and backyard entertaining, with portable coolers. With various sizes available, you can pack everything from meat for the grill and condiments to two-liter bottles of soda and other sips of choice inside and let the outdoor fun begin.
Grill Up Some Goodness
Nothing adds to a backyard party quite like the aroma and flavor of delicious grilled fare. From traditional favorites like burgers and hot dogs to chicken, steak, fish or kebabs, having a grill that can do it all is imperative. From portable models you can also use while camping or tailgating to grills built into an outdoor kitchen, there’s one to fit every need. Look for grills with features such as a side burner, multiple racks or storage space that make grilling up a full summer menu easier.
Serveware with a Purpose
Perfect for all of those backyard barbecues, and featuring artwork by PBS cooking show host Jacques Pepin, the Pass the Plate serving platter generates a $5 donation each time an individually numbered platter is passed and registered online. With its fresh and cheery design, this unique serving piece, which is available for $24.95 at Villeroy & Boch stores or by calling 1-888-886-8318, makes sharing even more fun.