Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fourth of July Weekend...Game Plan

If you have a house on the lake, the seashore or the country you will probably be bombarded with overnight guests for three nights over the Fourth of July weekend..  If you are the hostess, that can translate into stress very quickly  unless you are well organized.

 Let's face it, the idea of a getaway out of the city in this heat is a top priority on everyone's list so invitations to the country are in high demand.  Before you commit to the weekend, make sure you have enough room for everybody.  I don't mean footage wise, but comfort wise for you and for them.   You don't want to have so many guests as to make it miserable for everybody, including the dogs.

Your job is to ensure that everyone is well housed, well fed and well entertained.  The latter is a cinch here at the lake, all you have to do is open the back door and there is a lake with plenty of toys to enjoy. The former is also no problem, plenty of beds and pillows, air mattresses and sleeping bags.  A big rec type room in the basement with its own full bath, tv. laundry and stereo that you can close off and never hear from them again.  Except maybe throw them a bone once in awhile...!  That's where my nephew and his friends stay when they come over and visit. For the hearty ones, there is alway a tent on the dock! Then comes my part, the well fed portion, and that is the one that can be tricky and an ordeal if you haven't planned ahead.

I have already sat down and made a list of menus with a shopping list and a schedule of all meals.  There will be six of us staying at the house and a few more for the 4th of July cookout.  Two of our guests will be staying nearby and driving up for the day, so that means meals for eight for 3 days. 

This year, my daughter has begged me to cut back on the cooking so I can enjoy myself.  Most of the time I am exhauted by the second day and this time I am going to keep it simple and fun for me too.

Friday night is tricky since you dont know when everyone will be arriving.   Keep it a very simple and casual  meal.  This is not the time for a barbecue, the traffic everywhere this particular weekend is unpredictable.  If there are guests that will be delayed, you can always cook their pasta when they arrive.  Others may leave early and arrive mid afternoon.  Have a treat for them after their long drive.


Afternoon tea and pound cake


Garlic Bread (buy frozen)
Chocolate and pistachio gelatos



Orange juice
Bagels and muffins
coffee and tea

Picnic Lunch on the island

Cuban Sandwiches
Potato Chips


Sliced Pepperoni rounds with honey mustard

Saffron Rice
Rustic Blueberry Tart
Vanilla Ice Cream

Sunday 4th Breakfast/Brunch

Fresh fruit
English Muffins & Jams

Cookout on the Dock

(brought by friends and neighbor guests)
Baked Beans with Molasses and Bourbon (Bush makes the best ready made!)



Orange juice
Coffee and tea


Cold Leftover Chicken Mojito
Green Salad
Leftover brownies & Lemon Squares

Afternoon tea and leftover pound cake


Grown Up Mac And Cheese
Cold Sliced Tomatoes With Vinaigrette
Lemon Ice

Plan of attack!

Do as much as you can this weekend to get the house in shape.  Bake and freeze!

1.  This weekend, change beds, lay out clean towels.  Make sure guest bathroom has new soap, kleenex and toiletries for your guests.  Lay out some fun magazines and books  in bedrooms and coffee table. Wash lake towels and lay out in a hamper by lake door. Make marinara sauce and freeze

2. Monday -  Bake pound cake and cheese wafers and freeze

3. Tuesday -  Bake lemon squares and brownies and freeze

4.  Wednesday -  go grocery shopping

5.  Thursday - Get everything ready for the 4th cookout including, tablecloths, napkins, plates, serving dishes, glasses etc and set in a corner in basement or garage so you don't have to worry over the weekend.  REST UP!

Of course, this is all nice and dandy for those of us who don't work.  Plenty of time to sit and worry.  If you are not that lucky, use the menu as a benchmark and buy everything! The good thing about it is that it is casual and economical so it won't kill your budget if you go out and buy ready made things like coleslaw, brownies and pound cake.  Make sure you relax and enjoy yourself,  Otherwise your guests will feel your stress and it will dampen the weekend..

*Make enough to have cold for lunch on Monday

Photos #1 Getty images #2 Martha Stewart


  1. Great plan of attack! The weekend's menu sounds delicious--wish I was there!

  2. This reminds me that I need to get planning. Great ideas here. Much appreciated. Love the grown up Mac and cheese.



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