We sure are enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend and I hope you are, too! Kids around the UK are off from school this week and while some friends are off to sandy destinations this week, we're having a "stay-cation" at home... and that's okay! The I do have to work this week, but only two days - Wednesday and Friday. We're going to make use of our National Trust membership tomorrow, perhaps swimming and McDs on Tuesday and a visit with our friends on Thursday.
Our Bank Holiday weekend started kind of cool and overcast, but I wasn't going to let that get in the way of my excitement of finally having friends over for a BBQ yesterday afternoon. I say "finally" because years ago we bought an expanding garden table and Weber charcoal grill with the expectation of having friends over most warm-weather, sunny weekends. That has only happened once a few years ago and didn't go as expected. So, yesterday, I headed to the shop just before 7am to make the most of fewer shoppers and to make the most of my early-morning higher productivity window. This was followed by attending my Weight Watchers meeting, coming home, having a cup of coffee and making a three-layer strawberry pie and preparing for friends' arrival at 3pm.
Since yesterday, I've been reflecting on the lessons I learned from having our friends over for a BBQ and want to share them with you:
Lesson #1: I cannot change the weather - I can only influence my attitude. Rain or shine, we were having friends over and enjoying some good food together.
Lesson #2: It doesn't have to be perfect, nor was it anywhere near perfect. But what was perfect, was the laughter that we had together, the pure enjoyment we had watching our children run around the garden barefoot... oh... and the fact that the sun came out spot on 3pm!
Lesson #3: A half an hour nap just before your guest arrive is the perfect way to prepare oneself for a party... alright, admittedly, I felt like my grandma having to have a nap, but you know what? It was totally worth it and I felt happy and able to enjoy our friends when they arrived.
Lesson #4: Take time to take more pictures! The pictures I did take either included our friends' kids which I can't post or wasn't the greatest photo. I do love to take photos of food and guess what I didn't do... take photos of the food, especially my pretty 3-layer strawberry pie. It was so pretty and I forgot to take a picture before it was devoured - and devoured it was! It was delicious. Here's the link to the recipe.
Lesson #5: Buy better quality beer. I'm embarrassed to say that I bought four cans of the shop's brand lager. Honestly, the BWS department at the shop is completely out of my comfort zone. Not being much of a "drinker" until somewhat recently, every time I'm surrounded by a wall of bottles I get somewhat nervous. I grabbed some lager keep the ever-increasing cost of the BBQ in mind. Big mistake. The lager wasn't great and it's totally worth spending a little extra on nice drinks. Which brings me to another lesson...
Lesson #6: Don't let the added cost of having friends over stop you from having friends over. Having friends over can add to the food budget. I am not at all complaining, because it was completely worth having our friends over, but the cost of extra food is something to consider and budget for.
Lesson #7: I prepared the food I was comfortable with and didn't worry about making things fancy or complicated. Steak sounded good, but it's not something I felt comfortable making for guests. I chose to buy pre-made burgers rather than making my own. I could have but chose to focus my effort on the strawberry pie. We had hot dogs and BBQ chicken. Just simple, no-fuss food.
We're were blessed by our friends' company yesterday afternoon. We hope our hospitality was a blessing to them, too.