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Photo from:  Summer means the beach, longer days, and lounging by the pool. It also means it’s time to break out the barbecue. Nothing beats getting your friends or family together, relaxing outside, and enjoying delicious food and good company. The smell of the grill alone is usually enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. As the barbecue host, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you have as good a time as your guests.  1. Buy Citronella Candles Let’s face it: while we all love summer barbecues, bugs can quickly ruin any great outdoor meal. To keep mosquitos and other pests away from the food and your guests, pick up some citronella candles and strategically place them throughout the barbecue area. Bonus: these candles come in various shapes, sizes, and styles, protecting your guests and adding to your décor.  Photo from:  2. Prep the Night Before The one downside to hosting is that you often find yourself cooking, cleaning, and setting up instead of relaxing and enjoying your company. While there will always be something to do while your guests are there, ease the pressure off yourself by doing as much as you can the night before. Take out all of the plates, silverware, and serving pieces you’ll be using, cut up the fruit and vegetables, and prepare the side dishes. You’ll thank yourself later.  3. Create Easy Access into the House While the barbecue will take place outside, guests will need to come inside to wash their hands, use the restroom, and cool off, and you’ll need to head inside to refill the chips and refreshments. If kids are attending, be prepared for lots of running in and out. Be sure to keep a clear path to the door, and keep an eye out for forgetful guests who leave it open – there’s no better way to run up an energy bill than an air conditioner working against Mother Nature! If you have a sliding glass door that tends to stick or no longer completely closes, it may be time to replace it with an energy efficient, easy-to-use option  4. Label Everything Guests love that barbecues allow them to build their own meal. What they hate, however, is not knowing what options they have. To prevent this, label everything. You can use Popsicle sticks to label dips and spreads, and you can even pick up a set of meat labels so everyone gets their meal just how they like it.  Photo from:  5. Provide Entertainment From portable speakers to Frisbees to giant Jenga, there are plenty of options for keeping your guests entertained. Provide something for all ages, and be sure to have everything out and ready to go!  Photo from:


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